Fenn, K. M., Evans, S. B., McCorkle, R., DiGiovanna, M. P., Pusztai, L., Sanft, T., Hofstatter, E. W., Killelea, B. K., Knobf, M. T., Lannin, D. R., Abu-Khalaf, M., Horowitz, N. R., Chagpar, A. B.
PURPOSE: Little is known about the relationship between the financial burden of cancer and the physical and emotional health of cancer survivors. We examined the association between financial problems caused by cancer and reported quality of life in a population-based sample of patients with cancer. METHODS: Data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were analyzed. A multivariable regression model was used to examine the relationship between the degree to which cancer caused financial problems and the patients’ reported quality of life. RESULTS: Of 2,108 patients who answered the survey question, “To what degree has cancer caused financial problems for you and your family?,” 8.6% reported “a lot,” whereas 69.6% reported “not at all.” Patients who reported “a lot” of financial problems as a result of cancer care costs were more likely to rate their physical health (18.6% v 4.3%, P < .001), mental health (8.3% v 1.8%, P < .001), and satisfaction with social activities and relationships (11.8% v 3.6%, P < .001) as poor compared to those with no financial hardship. On multivariable analysis controlling for all of the significant covariates on bivariate analysis, the degree to which cancer caused financial problems was the strongest independent predictor of quality of life. Patients who reported that cancer caused “a lot” of financial problems were four times less likely to rate their quality of life as “excellent,” “very good,” or “good” (odds ratio = 0.24; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.40; P < .001). CONCLUSION: Increased financial burden asa result of cancer care costs is the strongest independent predictor of poor quality of life among cancer survivors.