Udayakumar, S., Solomon, E., Isaranuwatchai, W., Rodin, D. L., Ko, Y. J., Chan, K. K. W., Parmar, A.
PURPOSE: In the past decade, literature has called attention to financial toxicities experienced by cancer patients. Though studies have addressed research questions in high-income countries, there remains a paucity of in-depth reviews regarding low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our scoping review provides an overview of treatment-related financial toxicities experienced by cancer patients in LMICs. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. English peer-reviewed articles that (a) explored patients’ experience with financial toxicity due to cancer treatment (b) were specific to LMICs as defined by the World Bank and (c) focused on qualitative data were included. Details regarding participants and main findings were extracted and synthesized. RESULTS: The search yielded 6290 citations, and 42 studies across 3 low-income, 9 lower-middle-income and 8 upper-middle-income countries. Main themes identified included cancer patients encountered various material hardships, managed costs with different coping behaviours and experienced negative psychological responses to their financial burden. Higher levels of financial toxicities were associated with patient characteristics such as lower socio-economic status and lack of insurance, as well as patient outcomes such as lower quality of life. CONCLUSION: Cancer patients in LMIC experience deleterious financial toxicities as a result of treatment. This comprehensive characterization of financial toxicities will better allow health systems to adopt evidence-based mitigation strategies to reduce the financial burden on patients.