Lower Quality of Life Associated with Cancer-related Financial Burden

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An emerging research suggests that cancer-related financial burden appears to cause a significant impact on patients? quality of life. Aside from that, it also found that patients? are more susceptible to depression. Furthermore, it claims that there is a higher prevalence of worrying with regard to cancer recurrence among cancer survivors, according to the study published in the journal Cancer

In an analysis of data from the USA from 2011, it is indicated that nearly 29 percent of cancer survivors are burdened financially as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is also revealed in this study that such difficulties can have long-term physical and mental effects on cancer survivors. However, few studies have investigated this aforementioned impact of cancer-related financial burden in HRQoL.

Hrishikesh Kale and Norman Carroll of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy investigated the 2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data on 19.6 million cancer survivors. The study considered the financial burden of cancer patients, whether money was borrowed or bankruptcy declared. It reveals that major concerns were brought about by payment of large bills and the inability to cover the cost of medical care visits.

In the percentage of cancer survivors included in the study, 21 percent were worried about the payment of large medical bills, 11.5 percent were unable to cover the cost of medical care visits, 7.6 percent informed borrowing money or going into debt, 1.5 percent declared bankruptcy and 8.6 percent stated other financial sacrifices.

These aforementioned cancer survivors in financial burden had lower physical and mental Qol, were at higher risk for depression and psychological distress, and were more expected to have worries about cancer recurrence compared with cancer survivors with no financial burden.

Using the 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey, the participants? QoL was evaluated using the Physical Component Score and Mental Component Score.

“Our results suggest that policies and practices that minimize cancer patients’ out-of-pocket costs can improve survivors’ health-related quality of life and psychological health,” Dr. Carroll stated. “Reducing the financial burden of cancer care requires integrated efforts, and the study findings are useful for survivorship care programs, oncologists, payers, pharmaceutical companies, and patients and their family members.”

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