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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 225-230

Patient attitudes about the cost of cancer care: Expectations and realities in the current health care climate

1 Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA
2 Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Correspondence Address:
Daniel E Abbott
Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, 234 Goodman Street, ML 0772, Cincinnati, OH 45219
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-0513.132116

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Introduction: Effective health care reform has been slow, in part due to patient expectations and demands. We solicited cancer patients and their friends or family about the cost of cancer care. Materials and Methods: Individual demographics, opinions about expenditures in curable and incurable settings, for strangers and who should primarily be responsible for costs were included. Results: A majority of respondents were female (57.9%), over 50 years old (74%) and Caucasian (81.5%). In a curable setting, 44.4% and 56.7% of respondents believed there should be no limit to the amount the individual or insurance should pay for 1 year of life, respectively. Respondents believed that less should be spent on care in an incurable setting. There were no differences between patients and family/friends (P = 0.95), gender (P = 0.33), age group (P = 0.94) or ethnicity (P = 0.20) with regards to spending for curable versus incurable scenarios. Non-Caucasians were significantly more likely to believe that more should be spent on themselves than strangers; 7.1% versus 2.0% (P = 0.03). Conclusions : The amount that respondents believed should be spent on cancer care far exceeds sustainable health care spending in the United States. To contain health care costs, attitudes among patients, the public and policy makers must be understood aligned.

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