Financial Toxicity Among Older Mexican Adults With Cancer and Their Families: A Mixed-Methods Study

Sánchez-Román, S., Chavarri-Guerra, Y., Vargas-Huicochea, I., Alvarez Del Río, A., Bernal Pérez, P., Morales Alfaro, A., Ramirez Maza, D., de la, O. Murillo A., Flores-Estrada, D., Arrieta, O., Soto-Perez-de-Celis, E.

PURPOSE: The financial toxicity (FT) of cancer is common among older adults in high-income countries, but little is known about the financial hardships faced by older patients with cancer living in developing countries. The aim of this study was to explore the financial burden of cancer among older Mexican adults and their relatives, as well as factors that might mitigate such burden. METHODS: This mixed-methods study included patients age 65 years and older with the 10 most common malignancies in Mexico and 3-24 months from diagnosis at two cancer centers in Mexico City and their relatives. For the quantitative component, patients and relatives answered the Spanish version of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Financial Well-Being Scale. Patients completed the Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity-Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (COST-FACIT) scale and a 3-month, self-reported cost diary. For the qualitative component, focused interviews were used to explore the individual experiences of patients and their relatives. RESULTS: Ninety-six patients and their relatives were included, of whom 45% had stage IV disease. On the COST-FACIT scale, 9% reported no FT, 52% mild FT, 39% moderate FT, and 0% severe FT. The mean Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Financial Well-Being Scale score was 45.2, with 78% reporting poor financial well-being (score ≤ 50). On cost diaries, most expenses were associated with purchasing medications, including chemotherapy. Focused interviews showed that most patients and relatives had to acquire debt to face costs of cancer care. CONCLUSION: A high proportion of Mexican older adults with cancer reported FT and poor financial well-being. Understanding experiences associated with FT and strategies to mitigate it represents an essential first step to design public policies aimed at protecting older adults with cancer and their families from catastrophic spending.

Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2022
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