Study funding from Cancer Australia is gratefully acknowledged. We would like to express our very great appreciation to Dr. Tim Threlfall for his assistance with all aspects of the study, the staff of WA Cancer Registry, the survey participants, and Ms. Ally Logatchova for assistance with data entry and cleaning for this study. Infrastructure funding from the PRCHB and HMRI is gratefully acknowledged. There are no financial disclosures from any authors.
Access to Care and Impacts of Cancer on Daily Life: Do They Differ for Metropolitan Versus Regional Hematological Cancer Survivors?
Article first published online: 25 MAR 2013
© 2013 National Rural Health Association
The Journal of Rural Health
Volume 29, Issue s1, pages s43–s50, August 2013
How to Cite
Paul, C. L., Hall, A. E., Carey, M. L., Cameron, E. C. and Clinton-McHarg, T. (2013), Access to Care and Impacts of Cancer on Daily Life: Do They Differ for Metropolitan Versus Regional Hematological Cancer Survivors?. The Journal of Rural Health, 29: s43–s50. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12020
- Issue published online: 14 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 25 MAR 2013
- Cancer Australia
- access to care;
- health disparities;
- health-related quality of life;
- hematologic neoplasms
Little is known about access to care for hematological cancer patients. This study explored patient experiences of barriers to accessing care and associated financial and social impacts of the disease. Metropolitan versus nonmetropolitan experiences were compared.
A state-based Australian cancer registry identified adult survivors of hematological cancers (including lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma) diagnosed in the previous 3 years. Survivors were mailed a self-report pen and paper survey.
Of the 732 eligible survivors, 268 (37%) completed a survey. Forty percent of participants reported at least one locational barrier which limited access to care. Only 2% reported cancer-related expenses had restricted their treatment choices. Almost two-thirds (64%) reported at least one financial or social impact on their daily lives related to cancer. The most frequently reported impacts were the need to take time off work (44%) and difficulty paying bills (21%). Survivors living in a nonmetropolitan location had 17 times the odds of reporting locational or financial barriers compared with those in metropolitan areas. Preferred potential solutions to alleviate the financial and social impacts of the disease were: free parking for tests or treatment (37%), free medications or treatments (29%), and being able to get treatment in their local region (20%).
Providing more equitable access to care for hematological cancer patients in Australia requires addressing distances traveled to attend treatment and their associated financial and social impacts on nonmetropolitan patients. Greater flexibility in service delivery is also needed for patients still in the workforce.