Lead author Rajesh Balkrishnan, professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said, “We found that a complex variety of factors including poverty, geography and preventive health orientation affect the health of women with breast cancer in Appalachia."
Patients "receiving catastrophic insurance coverage were three times more likely to adhere to their adjuvant endocrine therapy and also had a 44 percent lower risk of discontinuing therapy," Heather Lindsey reports for Oncology Times. Among the study group, "43 percent of patients were categorized as being economically distressed, 67 percent lived in largely rural environments and 88 percent experienced health care professional shortages."
Some patients stopped taking medication because of doctor shortages or long distances to drive to a pharmacist, Lindsey writes. "Another factor is the amount and type of insurance coverage patients have to cover these costs. While insurance typically covers most adjuvant hormone therapies, people in this study population may be watching every dollar." (Read more)