Extensive financial hardship among gynecologic cancer patients starting a new line of therapy

Liang, M. I., Pisu, M., Summerlin, S. S., Boitano, T. K. L., Blanchard, C. T., Bhatia, S., Huh, W. K.

OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to evaluate the three domains of financial hardship (psychological response, material conditions, and coping behaviors) among gynecologic cancer patients receiving treatment. METHODS: We conducted a single-institution survey of gynecologic cancer patients starting a new line of therapy for primary or recurrent disease. Psychological response was measured using Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity, with score < 26 indicating financial distress. We measured material conditions by patient-reported changes in employment or spending and coping behaviors by patient-reported medication non-adherence. We performed descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis, and multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: Among 121 participants, the mean age was 59 years, 28% were African-American, 50% reported income < $40,000, 74% had private insurance, 20% had only public insurance, and 7% were uninsured. Sixty-five (54%) participants screened positive for financial distress. Age < 65 years (aOR 2.61, 95% CI 1.04-6.52) and income < $40,000 (aOR 3.41, 95% CI 1.28-9.09) were associated with increased odds of screening positive for financial distress. Participants with financial distress were significantly more likely to report material hardship, including losing wages (46% vs. 18%, p < 0.01), not paying bills on time (40% vs. 7%, p < 0.01), and borrowing money (39% vs. 4%, p < 0.01). Financial distress was not associated with coping behaviors, such as not taking (6% vs. 2%, p = 0.37) or refilling medications (5% vs. 2%, p = 0.62). CONCLUSIONS: Financial distress affects over half of gynecologic cancer patients starting a new line of treatment and is associated with material hardship. Younger age and lower income can be used to identify patients at increased risk.

Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2020
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