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Study: Cancer Patients in U.S. Twice as Likely to Go Bankrupt

Americans who have cancer are more than twice as likely to suffer financial bankruptcy than people without cancer, according to a new study.

Dr. Scott Ramsey and his Washington State research team originally presented part of their study in 2011, but released the full study in the journal Health Affairs this week.

The researchers collected medical and financial information from almost 400,000 adults. Half of the adults had been treated for cancer, while the other half had not.

The study tracked which of the patients had filed for bankruptcy between 1995 and 2009, and found that cancer patients were 2.5 times more likely to go bankrupt than non-cancer patients.

These findings are similar to a 2009 study, which found that more than 60 percent of bankruptcies in the United States are due to high medical bills, reported CNN. In that study, 75 percent of those Americans had insurance when they got sick.

According to Health Affairs, Dr. Ramsey's study concluded that "cancer centers need to do a better job of assessing each patient’s financial status, offering credit counseling and managing patient care."

However, in a for-profit health care system such as the U.S., medical facilities do not make money by advising patients on the most cost effective ways to bring down their bills.

Sources: Health Affairs and CNN


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