TUESDAY, June 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Parental cancer is associated with a greater likelihood of family-level food insecurity, financial worry about housing costs and other monthly bills, and transportation barriers to medical care for U.S. children, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from June 3 to 7 in Chicago.

Zhiyuan Zheng, Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the 2013 to 2018 National Health Interview Survey to identify minor children (ages 5 to 17 years) living in families with a parental cancer history (812 children) and children without a parental cancer history (22,129 children).

The researchers found that children of cancer survivors were more likely to live in families that experience shortages in basic economic needs, such as food bought did not last (26.0 versus 16.7 percent), inability to afford balanced meals (16.9 versus 13.3 percent), worry about paying monthly bills (44.8 versus 37.9 percent), and worry about housing costs (35.7 versus 30.7 percent), compared with children whose parents did not report a history of cancer. Additionally, children with a parental cancer history were more likely to experience delayed medical care due to lack of transportation versus children without a parental cancer history (3.6 versus 1.6 percent).

“Parental cancer is associated with greater likelihood of food insecurity, worse housing and other living conditions, and transportation barriers to medical care for minor children,” the authors write. “Efforts to identify minor children with a parental cancer history and develop strategies to attenuate their unmet economic needs are warranted.”

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