Hastert, T. A., Kyko, J. M., Reed, A. R., Harper, F. W. K., Beebe-Dimmer, J. L., Baird, T. E., Schwartz, A. G.
BACKGROUND: Financial hardship is common among cancer survivors and is associated with both limiting care due to cost and with poor health-related quality of life (HRQOL). This study estimates the association between limiting care due to cost and HRQOL in a diverse population of cancer survivors and tests whether limiting care mediates the association between financial hardship and HRQOL. METHODS: We used data from 988 participants (579 African American, 409 white) in the Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors (ROCS) pilot, a hospital-based cohort of breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer survivors. We assessed associations between financial hardship, limiting care, and HRQOL [measured by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G)] using linear regression and mediation analysis controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and cancer-related variables. RESULTS: FACT-G scores were 4.2 [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.0-6.4] points lower among survivors who reported financial hardship compared with those who did not in adjusted models. Limiting care due to cost was associated with a -7.8 (95% CI, -5.1 to -10.5) point difference in FACT-G scores. Limiting care due to cost explained 40.5% (95% CI, 25.5%-92.7%) of the association between financial hardship and HRQOL overall, and 50.5% (95% CI, 29.1%-188.1%) of the association for African American survivors. CONCLUSIONS: Financial hardship and limiting care due to cost are both associated with lower HRQOL among diverse cancer survivors, and this association is partially explained by limiting care due to cost. IMPACT: Actions to ensure patients with cancer can access appropriate care could lessen the impact of financial hardship on HRQOL.