COVID-19 and financial toxicity in patients with renal cell carcinoma

Staehler, M. D., Battle, D. J., Bergerot, C. D., Pal, S. K., Penson, D. F.

PURPOSE: To ascertain renal cell carcinoma (RCC) financial toxicity on COVID-19 during the COVID-19 crisis as patients are struggling with therapeutic and financial implications. METHODS: An online survey was conducted from March 22 to March 25, 2020. It included baseline demographic, clinicopathologic, treatment-related information, anxiety levels related to COVID-19, questions related to financial concerns about COVID-19 as well as the validated 11-item COST measure. RESULTS: Five-hundred-and-thirty-nine patients (39%:58% male:female) from 14 countries responded. 23% of the patients did not feel in control of their financial situation but 8% reported being very satisfied with their finances. The median COST score was 21.5 (range 1-44). Metastatic patients who have not started systemic therapy had a COST score (19.8 range 2-41) versus patients on oral systemic therapy had a COST score (23.9 range 4-44). Patients in follow-up after surgery had a median COST score at 20.8 (range 1-40). A low COST scores correlated (p < 0.001) were female gender (r = 0.108), younger age (r = 0.210), urban living situation (r = 0.68), a lower educational level (r = 0.155), lower income (r = 0.165), higher anxiety about acquiring COVID-19 (r = 0.198), having metastatic disease (r = 0.073) and a higher distress score about cancer progression (r = 0.224). CONCLUSION: Our data highlight severe financial impact of COVID-19. Acknowledging financial hardship and thorough counseling of cancer patients should be part of the conversation during the pandemic. Treatment and surveillance of RCC patients might have to be adjusted to contemplate financial and medical needs.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2021
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