Financial Toxicity among Patients with Bladder Cancer: Reasons for Delay in Care and Effect on Quality of Life

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Abstract

Purpose:

Costly surveillance and treatment of bladder cancer can lead to financial toxicity, a treatment related financial burden. Our objective was to define the prevalence of financial toxicity among patients with bladder cancer and identify delays in care and its effect on health related quality of life.

Materials and Methods:

We identified patients with bladder cancer in the University of North Carolina Health Registry/Cancer Survivorship Cohort. Financial toxicity was defined as agreement with having “to pay more for medical care than you can afford.” Health related quality of life was measured using general and cancer specific validated questionnaires. Statistical analyses were performed using the Fisher exact test and the Student t-test.

Results:

A total of 138 patients with bladder cancer were evaluated. Median age was 66.9 years, 75% of the patients were male and 89% were white. Of the participants 33 (24%) endorsed financial toxicity. Participants who were younger (p = 0.02), black (p = 0.01), reported less than a college degree (p = 0.01) and had noninvasive disease (p = 0.04) were more likely to report financial toxicity. On multivariable analysis only age was a significant predictor of financial toxicity. Patients who endorsed financial toxicity were more likely to report delaying care (39% vs 23%, p = 0.07) due to the inability to take time off work or afford general expenses. On general health related quality of life questionnaires patients with financial toxicity reported worse physical and mental health (p = 0.03 and <0.01, respectively), and lower cancer specific health related quality of life (p = 0.01), physical well-being (p = 0.01) and functional well-being (p = 0.05).

Conclusions:

Financial toxicity is a major concern among patients with bladder cancer. Younger patients were more likely to experience financial toxicity. Those who endorsed financial toxicity experienced delays in care and poorer health related quality of life, suggesting that treatment costs should have an important role in medical decision making.

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