The patterns and determinants of long-term income among adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors, and the differences compared to peers, have not yet been fully explored. This study investigated the long-term effects of cancer on the income of AYA cancer survivors.
The Netherlands Cancer Registry identified all AYA cancer patients (18-39 years) diagnosed in 2013 and alive 5 years post diagnosis. Clinical data of the selected AYA patients were linked to individual, administrative real-world labor market data of Statistics Netherlands. The control group consisted of a random sample of individuals of the same age, sex and migration background without cancer. Data on 2,434 AYA cancer patients and 9,736 controls were collected annually from 2011 until 2019. Changes in income level were measured and compared with the control group using difference-in-difference regression models.
AYA cancer survivors experience, on average, an 8.5% decrease in annual earnings, relative to the control population. The effects are statistically significant and permanent; (p < 0.01). Younger AYAs (those aged 18-25 years 15.5% income reduction), married cancer survivors (12.3%), females (11.6%), those diagnosed with stage IV disease (38.1%) and central nervous system (CNS; 15.7%) cancer patients experienced the largest decline in income, on average, relative to controls, all else constant.
Although dependent on the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, a cancer diagnosis at AYA age has significant implications on the income of cancer patients. Awareness of vulnerable groups and the development of policies to mitigate the financial impact of cancer are critical.