Financial considerations are notable barriers for patients with cancer receiving follow-up cancer care, according to study findings from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program.

Researchers found that a portion of participants (3.4%–10%) in All of Us didn’t receive or chose to delay follow-up care because of financial issues. Commonly cited reasons were “had to pay out of pocket for some or all of the procedures,” “deductible was too high/ could not afford the deductible,” and “couldn't afford the copay.”

About 47% of participants had private health insurance, 41% had Medicare, and 6% had Medicaid. The remaining participants had military, Veterans Affairs, other insurance plans, or no health insurance.

This study was featured in the All of Us Research Program’s May 2022 newsletter. The report outlined researchers’ work “to see how learning about the disease improves our chances to conquer it.”

NIH created the All of Us Research Program in 2015 to establish a growing, diverse research database for scientists to access and analyze healthcare information, including data on patients with cancer. As more people from various races, ethnicities, and locations join the program, nurse scientists and other researchers can uncover more answers to common questions about health and diseases like cancer.

"A lot of the research that we have to date has not been generally inclusive of a variety of groups,” Francisco Moreno, MD, associate vice president for diversity and inclusion at the University of Arizona Health Sciences, said. “And so, there are a number of gaps in our understanding of risk factors, treatment responses, or the best approaches for specific populations. As the diversity of the population of the United States continues to increase, our assumptions about what may work for the general population become more and more challenged."