A new survey shows that 35% of cancer patients and survivors reported their access to healthcare has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Survivor Views survey from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) also finds that even during the last few months, as the overall spread of the virus has begun to decline due to vaccinations, roughly 1 in 6 (16%) patients report a delay or interruption in their cancer screening schedule, including 1 in 10 (11%) who experienced a screening delay for a cancer with which they’d previously been diagnosed. These delays were driven mostly by logistical issues such as staffing shortages or a lack of available appointments (26%), followed by patients’ concerns about the risks of contracting the virus (22%).
The survey also asked patients about their overall cancer care experience. Responses showed continued racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in the health care system. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said their health care provider asked them what they wanted from their treatment and made them an active part of their cancer treatment decisions. But 22%, or 1 in 5 said they were not asked or unsure and 15% of Hispanics, American Indian, or Asian patients said they did not feel they were actively involved in their own treatment decisions, compared to 12% of white respondents. In addition, survey respondents identified the overall costs of health care as the most important challenge to address and the top priority for improving health care. This issue is critical because it impacts the ability of cancer patients and survivors to afford all of their necessary treatments and services. ACS CAN is urging lawmakers to ensure cancer patients can get timely, affordable health coverage that allows them to access the care they need.
To learn more about Survivor Views, visit www.fightcancer.org/survivor-views.