Does Cancer Treatment-Related Financial Distress Worsen Over Time?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND Patients with cancer are at risk for both objective and subjective financial distress. Financial distress during treatment is adversely associated with physical and mental well-being. Little is known about whether patients' subjective financial distress changes during the course of their treatment.method This is a cross-sectional study of insured adults with solid tumors on anti-cancer therapy for ≥1 month, surveyed at a referral center and three rural oncology clinics. The goal was to investigate how financial distress varies depending on where patients are in the course of cancer therapy. Financial distress (FD) was assessed via a validated measure; out-of-pocket (OOP) costs were estimated and medical records were reviewed for disease/treatment data. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the potential association between treatment length and financial distress.RESULTS Among 300 participants (86% response rate), median age was 60 years (range 27-91), 52.3% were male, 78.3% had stage IV cancer or metastatic recurrence, 36.7% were retired, and 56% had private insurance. Median income was $60,000/year and median OOP costs including insurance premiums were $592/month. Median FD score (7.4/10, SD 2.5) corresponded to low FD with 16.3% reporting high/overwhelming distress. Treatment duration was not associated with the odds of experiencing high/overwhelming FD in single-predictor (OR = 1.01, CI [.93, 1.09], P = .86) or multiple predictor regression models (OR = .98, CI [.86, 1.12], P = .79). Treatment duration was not correlated with FD as a continuous variable (P = .92).LIMITATIONS This study is limited by its cross-sectional design and generalizability to patients with early-stage cancer and those being treated outside of a major referral center.CONCLUSION Severity of cancer treatment-related financial distress did not correlate with time on treatment, indicating that patients are at risk for FD throughout the treatment continuum. Screening for and addressing financial distress should occur throughout the course of cancer therapy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hussaini, SMQ; Chino, F; Rushing, C; Samsa, G; Altomare, I; Nicolla, J; Peppercorn, J; Zafar, SY

Published Date

  • 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 82 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 14 - 20

PubMed ID

  • 33397749

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0029-2559

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.18043/ncm.82.1.14


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States