US Insights

With breast cancer, youth not always a plus

Elizabeth Wilner

US Editor

Health 05.26.2016 / 14:50

Finding a healthy balance

New research shows younger women are more likely to skip the medications that could prolong their lives

As breast cancer survivor rates increase, some patients remain left behind—specifically younger, non-white women with lower income. New research by Kantar Health based on its National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS) and other survey research finds that these women are less likely to take their oral medications.

Key Numbers

  • 25.2% of women with breast cancer skip or miss Rx doses

Overall, breast cancer survivorship has risen, in part due to successful maintenance with prescription medications. Yet 25.2% of US women with breast cancer report missing doses of their maintenance medications, Kantar Health finds. These women are more likely than not to be younger, non-white and making less income.

Reasons for not taking medications varied across certain sub-groups. In general, younger women are simply more likely to miss doses, both accidentally and intentionally. Women who deliberately refrain from filling a prescription or skip doses tend to have less income. And women who accidentally forget to take their medications are more likely to be non-white, obese, sedentary and smokers.

Earlier research has found that forgetfulness and adverse events such as fear of side effects are the most common reasons for missing doses.

Evidence shows that missed doses of oral treatments for breast cancer decrease chances for survival, says Amir Goren, Ph.D., Director of Health Outcomes Research at Kantar Health. “Being able to identify which patients are more likely to be non-adherent, and why, can help physicians and drug makers develop appropriate interventions – including tools to aid adherence, mitigating treatment costs and better educating patients regarding health benefits and side effects.”

Source: Kantar Health

Editor's Notes

Research based on:

1)    Kantar Health’s National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS), a cross-sectional, internet-based survey of US adults age 18+, using data from 2010 through 2015.

2)    An additional survey of 679 females reporting diagnosis with breast cancer and adjuvant/metastatic oral therapy (exclusive).

Journalists, for inquiries or to speak with the experts, contact us. Follow @Kantar and sign up for our insight alerts.

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