Cancer is the number one health concern among middle-income Americans, according to Washington National Institute for Wellness Solutions.
The study, “Middle-Income America’s Perspectives on Critical Illness and Financial Security,” which surveyed 1,001 Americans ages 30 to 66 with an annual household income of between $35,000 and $99,999, finds that 79 percent are somewhat concerned or very concerned about a cancer diagnosis, followed by heart disease (74 percent), stroke (70 percent) and Alzheimer’s disease (60 percent).
The cancer types that elicit the most concern correlate heavily with gender. Prostate, colon and lung cancer are the largest concerns for men; for women, breast cancer is the predominant concern.
Those concerned about cancer and heart disease feel most vulnerable to healthcare costs and the life-threatening nature of these illnesses. People most concerned about stroke and Alzheimer’s/dementia, by contrast, feel vulnerable on quality-of-life issues and being able to maintain an independent life after a diagnosis and treatment.
The study also finds that people tend to be more concerned about a loved one being diagnosed than themselves. Nearly half (47 percent) say they would be more concerned if a parent or child were diagnosed with cancer than themselves (38 percent).
Many middle-income Americans equate health with wealth. About half (53 percent) of the survey respondents strongly agree with the proposition that “people with more money receive higher-quality medical treatment”. Uninsured consumers and African-Americans are more likely to feel that wealth influences treatment quality.
If faced with a critical illness diagnosis, about 7 in 10 say they probably would receive treatment in their own city or town, but half (54 percent) would seek care elsewhere if access or cost were not a concern.
For financial information concerning health coverage, middle-income Americans consider health insurance companies most important, followed by healthcare providers and facilities. No more than 10 percent would heavily rely on the Internet as their primary resource about treatment option or financial information.
See the full report here.