Stigma as a Barrier to Treatment and Adoption of Innovation
Laura Grigolon () and
CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series from University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany
Diseases such as mental illnesses, HIV, or certain cancer types carry a stigma that may deter patients from seeking treatment and, in turn, hinder the diffusion of inno- vative therapies. We investigate the link between social stigma as a barrier to access treatment and the adoption of innovation using the population of patients diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in Ontario (Canada) over the last decade: among all can- cers, lung cancer suffers most from stigma because of its association with smoking behavior. Thanks to the rich information on patients at the geographic level, we are able to incorporate social stigma in a model of patients utility for pursuing treatment. We nd that patients face signi cant stigma acting as a barrier to treatment partic- ipation, which in turn slows down the adoption of innovative lung cancer treatment. Removing social stigma would increase the use of innovative treatment by 4%, with bene ts in survival outweighing the additional treatment costs.
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