The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, found U.S. cancer patients were 2.65 times more likely to file for bankruptcy than people without cancer. Based on data analysis of 197,840 cancer patients age 18 or older in the western district of Washington state between 1995 and 2009, the study found that 2.2 percent filed for bankruptcy protection after being diagnosed with cancer.
Controlling for a variety of factors, the researchers studied another set of 197,840 people from that same region that did not have cancer and found only 1.1 percent among them had filed for bankruptcy.
The study also found younger people with cancer experienced the highest bankruptcy rates across all cancer types and up to 10 times the rate of bankruptcy filings than older age groups.
The study team included: Scott Ramsey, Karma Kreizenbeck, Catherine Fedorenko and Polly Newcomb of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; David Blough of the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna, N.Y.; Anne Kirchhoff of the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City; Kyle Snell at Crowdtap in New York City; William Hollingworth with the University of Bristol in England; and Karen Overstreet, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Seattle.