A national cross-sectional survey of financial toxicity among bladder cancer patients

Ehlers, M., Bjurlin, M., Gore, J., Pruthi, R., Narang, G., Tan, R., Nielsen, M., Zhu, A., Deal, A., Smith, A.

OBJECTIVE: Financial toxicity (FT) has been defined as the patient-level impact of the costs of cancer care. Our objective was to better characterize FT among bladder cancer patients as well as oncologic, demographic and insurance characteristics related to FT. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network Patient Survey Network using the validated COST (COmprehensive Score for financial Toxicity) questionnaire. Our primary outcome was relative degree of FT, with lower COST scores corresponding to worse FT. Wilcoxon rank sum tests and multiple regression were used to evaluate differences in demographic, diagnostic and treatment characteristics as they related to degree of FT. RESULTS: Among 226 patients, median age was 68 years with 64% male, 83% married, and 49% with Medicare with supplemental insurance. Respondents reported an average of 65 months since diagnosis, with 62% reporting noninvasive disease. Mean COST was 28.4 (range 0-44). On multivariable analysis, patients who were younger, with a household annual income less than $50,000, not retired, or with insurance that was neither Medicare nor employer paid were significantly more likely to have worse FT. A majority of respondents (63.5%) agreed or strongly agreed that they would be interested in discussing cost in the context of their treatment preferences, independent of COST score (P = 0.24). CONCLUSIONS: A national cross-sectional survey demonstrated high prevalence of FT which was worse among younger patients with lower incomes, not retired, and without employer-paid or Medicare insurance. Most patients preferred to discuss treatment costs with their bladder cancer provider.

Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2021
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