Study: Financial Distress Can Impact Care Decisions by Cancer Patients

A research letter from JAMA Oncology says that more than a third of cancer patients faced out-of-pocket medical treatment expenses that were greater than expected. Not surprisingly, patients with the greatest financial distress were uninsured.

The researchers note that these financial considerations may have a detrimental impact on decisions made by cancer patients in relation to their care.

The financial burden of cancer treatment is a well-established concern. Owing to cost sharing, even insured patients face financial burden and are at risk for worsened quality of life and increased mortality. Underinsured patients (those spending more than 10% of their income on health care costs) are a growing population, and are at risk given the looming heath policy and coverage changes on the horizon. In this setting, little is known about what expectations patients have regarding those costs and how those cost expectations might impact decision making.