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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2009 Aug;20(3):721-8. doi: 10.1353/hpu.0.0176.

Exploring the financial impact of breast cancer for African American medically underserved women: a qualitative study.

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Middle Tennessee State University, TN, USA.


In addition to the physical suffering experienced by cancer survivors, there are considerable financial hardships and access barriers to quality health care. The current study explored the financial burden of breast cancer on African American medically underserved women. Four focus groups were conducted in three major cities across Tennessee. Research participants (N=36) were recruited by the staff of cancer support and treatment programs in the area. Findings revealed that participants' lack of insurance or inadequate insurance resulted in missed, delayed, or fewer treatment opportunities. The financial burden of cancer was not limited to the acute treatment phase. The women in the current study reported extreme economic hardship resulting from this disease into long-term survivorship. This exploratory study confirms the importance of providing care across the continuum to address the complex needs of low-income cancer survivors.

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