Dar, M. A., Chauhan, R., Murti, K., Trivedi, V., Dhingra, S.
BACKGROUND: Financial toxicity is a consequence of subjective financial distress experienced by cancer patients as a result of treatment expenditures. Financial toxicity has been associated with poor quality of life, early mortality, and non-adherence. It is evident from the literature that the currently available instruments for the assessment of financial toxicity do not measure coping and support seeking domains. The aim of this study was to develop an instrument for the assessment of financial toxicity among radiation oncology patients that captures and integrates all the relevant domains of subjective financial distress. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was conducted among Head & Neck cancer (HNC) patients (age ≥18 years) who have completed the radiotherapy either as stand-alone or part of a multimodal treatment. Literature review, expert opinion, and patient interviews were used for scale item generation. The validity and underlying factor structure were evaluated by Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). The reliability and internal consistency of the final scale was assessed using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. RESULTS: A total of 17 items were identified for scale development. The preliminary 17-item instrument was administered to 142 HNC patients. Among 142 participants, 85.9% were male and 98.6% were from rural areas. EFA was performed on 17 items and three items were removed (factor loadings <0.5). The remaining 14 items loaded onto three factors (eigenvalue >1) explaining 62.0% of the total variance. The Chi-square goodness of fit test in CFA and the values of other model fit indices, namely, RMSEA = 0.045, SRMR = 0.014, GFI = 0.92, CFI = 0.98, and TLI=0.97 indicate a good model fit suggesting the three-factor model adequately fits the data. The Cronbach’s α for the final 14-item scale was 0.87 indicating excellent reliability and the Cronbach’s α coefficient of all the individual 14 items was ≥0.85 (range 0.85-0.88). CONCLUSION: The SFDQ showed excellent validity and reliability. SFDQ captures and integrates all the relevant domains of financial toxicity. However, the provisional SFDQ instrument warrants further larger sample studies for validation and psychometric evaluation in different primary cancer subsites and treatment modalities from multiple cancer centers to improve the generalizability of this instrument.