This article was originally published here
Support Care Cancer. 2021 Nov 25. doi: 10.1007/s00520-021-06697-6. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Financial toxicity is common and pervasive among cancer patients. Research suggests that gynecologic cancer patients experiencing financial toxicity are at increased risk for engaging in harmful cost-coping strategies, including delaying/skipping treatment because of costs, or forsaking basic needs to pay medical bills. However, little is known about patients’ preferences for interventions to address financial toxicity.
METHODS: Cross-sectional surveys to assess financial toxicity [Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity (COST)], cost-coping strategies, and preferences for intervention were conducted in a gynecologic cancer clinic waiting room. Associations with cost-coping were determined using multivariate modeling. Unadjusted odds ratios (ORs) explored associations between financial toxicity and intervention preferences.
RESULTS: Among 89 respondents, median COST score was 31.9 (IQR: 21-38); 35% (N = 30) scored < 26, indicating they were experiencing financial toxicity. Financial toxicity was significantly associated with cost-coping (adjusted OR = 3.32 95% CI: 1.08, 14.34). Intervention preferences included access to transportation vouchers (38%), understanding treatment costs up-front (35%), minimizing wait times (33%), access to free food at appointments (25%), and assistance with minimizing/eliminating insurance deductibles (23%). In unadjusted analyses, respondents experiencing financial toxicity were more likely to select transportation assistance (OR = 2.67, 95% CI: 1.04, 6.90), assistance with co-pays (OR = 9.17, 95% CI: 2.60, 32.26), and assistance with deductibles (OR = 12.20, 95% CI: 3.47, 43.48), than respondents not experiencing financial toxicity.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirm the presence of financial toxicity in gynecologic cancer patients, describe how patients attempt to cope with financial hardship, and provide insight into patients’ needs for targeted interventions to mitigate the harm of financial toxicity.