A new study shows the financial crisis that has impacted people around the world has lead to more cancer deaths. The study, published in the Lancet Medical Journal, shows half a million cancer-related deaths have occurred between 2008 and 2010 due to unemployment or the lack of health insurance.
Observations made during this study showed a connection between the number of cancer deaths and the rate of unemployment. As unemployment rates rose, cancer deaths increased. The same correlation was seen between reductions in public health care dollars and cancer-related deaths.
More Unemployment = Higher Death Rate
In the U.S., during the period from 2008 to 2010, it is estimated that about 18,000 cancer patients died from a lack of treatment due to unemployment or insufficient healthcare coverage.
Globally, cancer caused over a million deaths in 2012. Since cancer is a primary cause of death throughout the world, it is important to understand how financial challenges related to patient survival rates. Although the connection between cancer and financial suffering has been noted, the availability of public health coverage can limit the impact.
The Lancet study that reviewed the correlation between cancer deaths and the global financial crisis analyzed statistical findings from over 70 countries. The reviewed data, which was collected by the World Bank and the World Health Organization, was particularly relevant, because it included information from a large time period, spanning 20 years (1990 - 2000).
Findings showed that as unemployment rates increased by one percent, an additional 0.37 cancer-related deaths occurred for every 100,000 patients. A similar trend occurred with declines in healthcare spending. There were 0.0053 additional deaths for every 100,000 patients as healthcare spending dropped by one percent.
Patients who are employed and have health insurance are more likely to be diagnosed early and receive adequate care. However, once a patient loses his or her job, he or she may not be diagnosed in time to receive the treatment needed.
The study's findings provide supportive evidence for universal healthcare coverage. However, currently, many cancer patients are still unable to afford treatment. Products, such as those offered by onPoint Oncology may help.