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Rural seniors forgo medical care after cancer, cite costs

Rural seniors forgo medical care after cancer, cite costs

Seniors who are cancer survivors and live in rural areas are more likely to skip routine medical and dental care for financial reasons compared with survivors who live in urban areas, a new study found.

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina looked at data of nearly 8,000 cancer survivors who participated in the National Health Interview Surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2006 and 2010. They surveyed participants on whether they ever delayed or went without medical or dental care because of cost, and whether they could afford prescription medication.

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The study found that survivors age 65 and older who lived in rural areas were 66 percent more likely to skip medical care and 54 percent more likely to skip a trip to the dentist because of cost.

Those living in rural areas may have to shoulder more out-of-pocket costs for travel to the doctor or dentist, which may be limiting factors for care, the researchers wrote. Also, even though many were insured under Medicare, the out-of-pocket costs such as premiums, copayments, and deductibles were all reported as deterrents to seeking care.

BOTTOM LINE: Seniors who are cancer survivors and live in rural areas are more likely to skip routine medical and dental care for financial reasons compared with survivors who live in urban areas.

CAUTIONS: The findings relied on a self-reported survey which may not be accurate.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention,
October issue

Graphic images,
text warnings may be effective quit-smoking method, study finds

Warning labels on cigarette packs that contain both graphic images and text warnings of health dangers may be an effective method to get smokers to think about quitting, according to results of an Internet survey conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University.

For the study, more than 2,600 smokers were divided into groups of 300. Each group was asked to look at one of eight different cigarette packs that contained one of a few different types of labels warning them of the dangers of smoking: a graphic image, text label, or a graphic image that included either a simple or lengthier text. They were then asked about their thoughts on the presentation and messaging of the label, and whether it helped them consider quitting.

Those who saw the cigarette pack with the label containing a graphic image and more elaborate text warning were more likely to report believing the warning and saw it as a potential deterrent to smoking, compared with those who saw any other label type.

BOTTOM LINE: Warning labels on cigarette packs that contain both graphic images and text warnings of its health dangers may be an effective method of getting smokers to think about quitting.

CAUTIONS: The results of the study relied on self-reported survey and may not be accurate.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Nicotine &
Tobacco Research, August issue

LARA SALAHI

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