SAN ANTONIO — Breast cancer care can cause significant financial stress for patients, but certain interventions may help patients cope with these financial burdens, new survey findings show.
Almost half of patients surveyed reported a “significant” or “catastrophic” financial burden related to their breast cancer care. But patients also found a range of resources helpful for minimizing this burden, including direct assistance programs that reduce the cost of medications, grants from nonprofits that can cover cancer-related expenses, as well as programs that offer free or low-cost transportation to medical appointments.
Financial toxicity remains a “pervasive problem in the breast cancer community and we really need to go to the next step, which is designing patient-centered, patient-facing interventions to make improvements,” Fumiko Chino, MD, with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said when presenting the survey results here at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) 2023.
A growing body of evidence shows that cancer care, especially for breast cancer, can take a heavy financial toll on patients. However, routine screening for financial toxicity is not necessarily a routine part of clinical care, and providers may not know the types of financial assistance patients value most, Chino explained.
Chino and colleagues surveyed 1437 women with breast cancer about their level of financial distress as well as the specific interventions or education initiatives they found most helpful.
Most patients (60%) were White, 27% were Hispanic, and 8% Black. Three quarters of patients were on active treatments, 89% had nonmetastatic disease, and 11% had metastatic disease.
Overall, 47% of patients reported a significant or catastrophic financial burden related to their breast cancer diagnosis and care. This burden was higher for those with metastatic disease (61% vs 45%).
Patients assessed 10 strategies for coping with the financial burdens of care. The top-rated interventions included patient assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical or medical test companies, rated highly by 32% of respondents, and grants from nonprofits, rated highly by 31% of respondents. Patients also found financial assistance departments at cancer centers or hospitals helpful (29%); coupons and savings cards to reduce the cost of prescription drugs (28%); and programs that provide free or low-cost transportation to medical appointments (28%).
In terms of education, respondents said having a checklist of questions to ask their oncology team as well as a list of breast cancer-specific financial grants to apply for would be especially helpful when navigating the financial burdens of breast cancer care.
These preferences, however, did vary by race/ethnicity and disease status. Hispanic patients, for instance, found patient assistance programs offered by companies and cancer centers as well as transportation assistance more helpful than other groups.
Patients with metastatic disease found patient assistance programs offered by medical companies particularly helpful compared with patients with nonmetastatic disease. And compared with patients with metastatic disease, those with nonmetastatic breast cancer found assistance through clinical trials and professional medical billing advocates helpful.
This study confirms the high rates of financial burden in women with breast cancer and clearly demonstrates that intervention preferences vary by sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, study discussant Claire C. Conley, PhD, from Georgetown University, Washington, DC, commented.
“This highlights that one size really doesn’t fit all when it comes to those financial burden interventions,” Conley said. “We need to think about factors at the patient level, the organizational level, and the environment level.”
The study had no commercial funding. Chino and Conley have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Source link : https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/what-will-help-ease-financial-toll-breast-cancer-2023a1000uig?src=rss
Publish date : 2023-12-06 19:07:26
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