Financial Status, Employment, and Insurance Among Older Cancer Survivors

Department of Health Services Research, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Copenhagen C, Denmark.
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.42). 11/2009; 24 Suppl 2(S2):S438-45. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-009-1034-5
Source: PubMed


Few data are available about the socioeconomic impact of cancer for long-term cancer survivors.
To investigate socioeconomic outcomes among older cancer survivors compared to non-cancer patients.
2002 Health and Retirement Study.
We studied 964 cancer survivors of > 4 years and 14,333 control patients who had never had cancer from a population-based sample of Americans ages >or= 55 years responding to the 2002 Health and Retirement Study.
We compared household income, housing assets, net worth, insurance, employment, and future work expectations.
Propensity score methods were used to control for baseline differences between cancer survivors and controls.
Female cancer survivors did not differ from non-cancer patients in terms of income, housing assets, net worth, or likelihood of current employment (all P > 0.20); but more were self-employed (25.0% vs. 17.7%; P = 0.03), and fewer were confident that if they lost their job they would find an equally good job in the next few months (38.4% vs. 45.9%; P = 0.03). Among men, cancer survivors and noncancer patients had similar income and housing assets (both P >or= 0.10) but differed somewhat in net worth (P = 0.04). Male cancer survivors were less likely than other men to be currently employed (25.2% vs. 29.7%) and more likely to be retired (66.9% vs. 62.2%), although the P value did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.06). Men were also less optimistic about finding an equally good job in the next few months if they lost their current job (33.5% vs. 46.9%), although this result was not significant (P = 0.11).
Despite generally similar socioeconomic outcomes for cancer survivors and noncancer patients ages >or=55 years, a better understanding of employment experience and pessimism regarding work prospects may help to shape policies to benefit cancer survivors.

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