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Understanding Cancer and Healthcare Consumer Behavior

healthcare consumer cancer patientWith over 1.5 million Americans diagnosed with cancer every year, most of us probably have someone in our lives who is dealing with some form of the disease.

At c2b solutions, we’re doing our part to raise awareness and help healthcare professionals provide care based on consumer insights.

We’ve used our healthcare market research to put together a fact sheet on some of the ways cancer affects consumer behaviors.

The Research

Our quantitative study of 4,878 respondents goes beyond figures, charts, graphs and tables to provide insight into consumer attitudes, beliefs, needs and behaviors that include a forecast of how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect the healthcare consumer.

Out of this extensive healthcare market research we created both a reference manual on the U.S. health care consumer we call the c2b Consumer Diagnostic® and a separate interactive database, which allows for custom data queries, called c2b Insights Accelerator.

The c2b Consumer Diagnostic® includes a chapter, from which we have drawn data for this article, on how cancer affects the decision making, financial considerations, and emotional health of those who have been diagnosed.

There are a few general facts to keep in mind as you peruse our data:

  • The respondent population with cancer skews older (just under half are covered by Medicare)
  • Over 66% of those surveyed are married or living with a partner
  • Over 66% are also college graduates
  • 69% of respondents do not have children at home.
  • Nearly 50% are employed full time or part time.
  • 41% of respondents are retired.

The Results

Our healthcare market research reveals many ways cancer plays out in the consumer habits of those diagnosed. In honor of Breast, Ovarian and Prostate cancer awareness in September and October, we’re sharing a sample of our insights on those diseases:

1. Impact of Illness

While respondents with cancer are +33% more likely than the General Population to worry about their health, they continue to go about their daily lives.

When I’m sick, I continue on with my daily routine even though I’m not at my best.

  • Respondents with Breast cancer agree: 69%
  • Ovarian cancer: 79%
  • Prostate cancer: 75%
  • General Population: 67%

2. Proactive approach to treatment

Despite having to deal with a serious condition, respondents with cancer express a positive outlook toward products and services that allow them to stay active or encourage healthier behavior.

My vitality is important and therefore I look for ways to stay active.

  • Respondents with Breast cancer agree: 79%
  • Ovarian cancer: 79%
  • Prostate cancer: 82%
  • General Population: 71%

I’ll spend whatever it takes to be healthy.

  • Respondents with Breast cancer agree: 54%
  • Ovarian cancer: 50%
  • Prostate cancer: 44%
  • General Population: 30%

3. Family duty and relationships

Americans with cancer don’t let treatment plans or day-to-day changes in health get in the way of their family obligations and relationships.

I don’t let being sick get in the way of my family.

  • Respondents with Breast cancer agree: 71%
  • Ovarian cancer: 75%
  • Prostate cancer: 71%
  • General Population: 63%

I feel like I’m betraying my family if I don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Respondents with Breast cancer agree: 59%
  • Ovarian cancer: 63%
  • Prostate cancer: 46%
  • General Population: 38%

4. Significance of Physical Appearance

c2b data shows that while 43% of respondents with cancer are extremely or very satisfied with their appearance, they are also more likely to spend money on treatments that improve or have less of a negative impact on their physical appearance.

I’ll spend whatever it takes to look good.

  • Respondents with Breast cancer agree: 34%
  • Ovarian cancer: 54%
  • Prostate cancer: 26%
  • General Population: 20%

5. Health Care

Because of their health condition, respondents with cancer are more engaged with the healthcare system. However, there is still a sizable percentage of these consumers who may not be getting the care they need, or face financial hardship that can affect their care.

I make sure I take the time for my regular doctor check-ups/screenings.

  • Respondents with Breast cancer agree: 84%
  • Ovarian cancer: 75%
  • Prostate cancer: 90%
  • General Population:  63%

I worry that I will be forced to make hard choices about what I spend money on because of the rising costs of healthcare.

  • Respondents with Breast cancer agree: 70%
  • Ovarian cancer: 88%
  • Prostate cancer: 49%
  • General Population:  55%

How to Use the Data

Our goal is to help health care organizations, insurance companies, pharmacies, pharmaceuticals and medical device companies understand the way consumers function in today’s healthcare environment and forecast how the Affordable Care Act and other government changes to the health care marketplace will affect consumer behavior.

Medical service providers, healthcare agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance providers are able to create consumer loyalty and ensure that patients with cancer get the best medical care possible in a number of different ways:

  • Improving compliance & persistency
  • Enhancing disease management participation
  • Improving outcomes

If you would like to read the whole chapter on cancer and consumer behavior — which includes sections on litigation risk, health insurance preferences, and prescription & OTC shopping behavior — stop by our website and learn more about the c2b Consumer Diagnostic®, or contact us.

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