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Patient Point of View: The Monetary Impact of Treatment for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

By: Sarah Lynch
Posted: Monday, August 28, 2023

A team of researchers surveyed nearly 300 patients being treated for metastatic prostate cancer to better understand the impact of financial toxicity. They observed that more than half of respondents reported experiencing some level of financial hardship related to their treatment and explored the steps they took to cope with these monetary difficulties. These findings were published in The Journal of Urology.

“Simply asking patients whether they are following their suggested treatments is not sufficient to screen for financial toxicity,” stated lead author Daniel D. Joyce, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, in a press release. “Some patients may be making profound personal sacrifices in order to remain adherent with their prostate cancer treatment, which may have a significant impact on the quality of life that we hope to prolong with these treatments.”

The researchers distributed a questionnaire concerning financial toxicity (defined as “the harm to patients that results from treatment costs”) to all patients with advanced prostate cancer seen at their clinic over a 3-month period. The questionnaire showed that 79 of 281 respondents experienced high financial toxicity, and 54% of patients experienced at least some level of financial hardship relating to their treatment. Both older patients and married patients experienced lower financial toxicity as well as those with higher annual incomes.

Patients facing high rates of financial toxicity coped in different ways, including spending less on basic goods and leisure activities and dipping into savings accounts to help finance their treatment. According to the study, 32% of patients with high financial toxicity used financial assistance programs to help fund their medical needs.

“Conversations about these issues are even more crucial given the observed improvement in financial toxicity among patients in our study who were able to access financial assistance programs,” Dr. Joyce stated.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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