Older cancer survivors living with financial hardship in China: A qualitative study of family perspectives

Su, M., Yao, N., Liu, L., Cheng, J., Sun, X., Yue, H., Zhang, J.

OBJECTIVE: Financial hardship among older cancer survivors has not been well-studied, despite its debilitating effects on their health and well-being. The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experiences of Chinese older cancer survivors who have experienced financial hardship following a cancer diagnosis. METHODS: A qualitative study was conducted. Data was collected using in-depth interviews with 21 older cancer survivors (aged ≥ 60) with financial hardship and 20 family caregivers in Shandong Province, China between August 2020 and January 2021. Data were analyzed using Colaizzi’s phenomenological method. RESULTS: Four main themes emerged: (1) older survivors have insufficient ability to address cancer-related costs; (2) financial transfers from adult children to older parents became prevalent after a cancer diagnosis; (3) cancer-related financial worries and stress extended into children’s families; (4) coping and adjustment strategies were used by the extended family. Traditional Confucian culture and the Chinese health care system considerably impacted the interpretation of financial hardship. CONCLUSION: Both older cancer survivors and their adult children experienced financial distress impacted by filial piety in China. Strategies adapted to Confucian family values and the health care system are needed to address cancer-related financial hardships.

Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published:
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