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Ashish Rai, Xuesong Han, Zhiyuan Zheng, K. Robin Yabroff and Ahmedin Jemal

Background: Despite the surge of interest in improving provider communication, empirical research is sparse on the determinants and outcomes of cancer survivors' satisfaction with healthcare provider communication. Methods: Longitudinal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data spanning 2008 through 2014 was used to identify 4,588 respondents who were ever diagnosed with cancer. A composite score was generated by combining 5 measures of satisfaction. We used multivariate logistic regressions and 2-part models to examine the associations between satisfaction ratings and outcomes, including general, mental, and physical health; office visits; and total healthcare, drug, and out-of-pocket expenditures. Results: The study sample comprised 2,257 nonelderly (age 18–64 years) and 2,331 elderly (age ≥65 years) respondents. Among both age groups, higher satisfaction was associated with fewer comorbidities, fewer year 1 office visits, and absence of year 1 emergency department visits. Membership of higher satisfaction tertile in year 1 was associated with better year 2 mental health (tertile 1 [T1]: predictive margin [PM], 27.1%; tertile 2 [T2]: PM, 35.5%; P=.013; tertile 3 [T3]: PM, 37.0%; P=.005) and general health (T1 [ref]: PM, 30.3%; T3: PM, 38.9%; P=.007) among the elderly. Greater satisfaction was associated with fewer year 2 office visits (T1 [ref]: PM, 7.42 visits; T3: PM, 6.26 visits; P=.038) among the nonelderly; and lower year 2 healthcare expenditures (T1 [ref]: PM, $34,071; T3: PM, $26,995; P=.049) among the elderly. Conclusions: We identified potential differences in cancer survivors' needs and expectations of provider communication based on comorbidities and baseline service use. These results emphasize the need for individualized communication strategies for patients with cancer and survivors shaped by their distinct requirements. Our findings of better health, lower service use, and lower expenditures among more satisfied cancer survivors suggest that interventions to improve provider communication could lead to a more efficient use of healthcare resources.

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Zhiyuan Zheng, Ahmedin Jemal, Reginald Tucker-Seeley, Matthew P. Banegas, Xuesong Han, Ashish Rai, Jingxuan Zhao and K. Robin Yabroff

Background: A cancer diagnosis can impose substantial medical financial burden on individuals and may limit their ability to work. However, less is known about worry for nonmedical financial needs and food insecurity among cancer survivors. Methods: The National Health Interview Survey (2013–2017) was used to identify cancer survivors (age 18–39 years, n=771; age 40–64 years, n=4,269; age ≥65 years, n=7,101) and individuals without a cancer history (age 18–39 years, n=53,262; age 40–64 years, n=60,141; age ≥65 years, n=30,261). For both cancer survivors and the noncancer group, adjusted proportions were generated for (1) financial worry (“very/moderately/not worried”) about retirement, standard of living, monthly bills, and housing costs; and (2) food insecurity (“often/sometimes/not true”) regarding whether food would run out, the fact that food bought did not last, and the inability to afford balanced meals. Further adjusted analyses examined intensity measures (“severe/moderate/minor or none”) of financial worry and food insecurity among cancer survivors only. Results: Compared with individuals without a cancer history, cancer survivors aged 18 to 39 years reported consistently higher “very worried” levels regarding retirement (25.5% vs 16.9%; P<.001), standard of living (20.4% vs 12.9%; P<.001), monthly bills (14.9% vs 10.3%; P=.002), and housing costs (13.6% vs 8.9%; P=.001); and higher “often true” levels regarding worry about food running out (7.9% vs 4.6%; P=.004), food not lasting (7.6% vs 3.3%; P=.003), and being unable to afford balanced meals (6.3% vs 3.4%; P=.007). Findings were not as consistent for cancer survivors aged 40 to 64 years. In contrast, results were generally similar for adults aged ≥65 years with/without a cancer history. Among cancer survivors, 57.6% (age 18–39 years; P<.001), 51.9% (age 40–64 years; P<.001), and 23.8% (age ≥65 years; referent) reported severe/moderate financial worry intensity, and 27.0% (age 18–39 years; P<.001), 14.8% (age 40–64 years; P<.001), and 6.3% (age ≥65 years; referent) experienced severe/moderate food insecurity intensity. Lower income and higher comorbidities were generally associated with greater intensities of financial worry and food insecurity in all 3 age groups. Conclusions: Younger cancer survivors experience greater financial worry and food insecurity. In addition to coping with medical costs, cancer survivors with low income and multiple comorbidities struggle to pay for daily living needs, such as food, housing, and monthly bills.