Financial Toxicity in Patients with Brain and Spine Metastases

Koenig, J. L., Sandhu, N., Sborov, K., Sabolch, A., Usoz, M., Li, G., Gephart, M. H., Chang, S., Hiniker, S., Soltys, S. G., Pollom, E. L.

OBJECTIVE: Financial toxicity associated with cancer treatment has a deleterious impact on patient outcomes but has not been well characterized among patients with metastatic cancers. We characterize the extent of financial toxicity among this population and identify factors associated with financial toxicity. METHODS: We prospectively surveyed adult patients with brain and spine metastases who received radiosurgery at a large academic medical center between January 2018 and December 2019. Financial toxicity was measured with the Personal Financial Wellness (PFW) scale. RESULTS: In total, 93 patients were included, with a median survival of 17.7 months. Most patients had private insurance (47%) or Medicare with supplementary insurance (42%), whereas 11% of patients were uninsured or insured by Medicaid/Medicare/Veterans Affairs. Of patients, 60% were primary income earners, of whom 52% had dependents. The median PFW score was 7.0 (interquartile range, 5.1-9.1), with financial toxicity reported in 23 patients (25%). After adjusting for age and education level, private insurance (odds ratio [OR], 0.28; P = 0.080) was associated with a lower likelihood of financial toxicity. Having ≥1 emergency department visit (OR, 3.87; P = 0.024) and a cancer-related change in employment status (OR, 3.63; P = 0.036) were associated with greater likelihood of reporting financial toxicity. CONCLUSIONS: Most patients with cancer with brain and spine metastases with a poor prognosis treated at a tertiary center are primary income earners and experience financial toxicity. Further studies are warranted to assess the longitudinal impact of financial toxicity in patients with metastatic cancer, particularly those with ≥1 emergency department visit and a cancer-related change in employment status.

Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2021
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