Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 14, Issue 11, pp 1077–1085 | Cite as

Financial and family burden associated with cancer treatment in Ontario, Canada

  • Christopher J. Longo
  • Margaret Fitch
  • Raisa B. Deber
  • A. Paul Williams
Supportive Care International

Abstract

Goals of work

To determine the financial and family resources burden associated with the treatment of cancer. A questionnaire was developed to determine the direct monthly “out-of-pocket costs” (OOPC), the indirect costs, and the associated perceived family burden.

Materials and methods

A self-administered questionnaire using a quota sample from five cancer clinics in Ontario, Canada was given to 282 cancer patients (74 breast, 70 colorectal, 68 lung, and 70 prostate). Monthly OOPC were obtained for: drugs, home care, homemaking, complementary and alternative medicines, vitamins and supplements, family care, travel, parking, accommodations, devices, and others. The questionnaire asked if OOPC for treatment were a burden, and if others took time from work to provide caregiving.

Main results

The mean monthly OOPC was $213, with an additional $372 related to imputed travel costs. For those patients who responded that the burden was “significant” (16.5%), their OOPC was $452. In the case of patients responding that their burden was “unmanageable” (3.9%), their OOPC was $544. The survey showed that 35.6% of patients required others to take time from work and this was higher in the under-65 category. The mean number of days lost from work in the previous 30 days for these caregivers was 7 days.

Conclusions

These results suggest the financial burden is problematic for 20% of this sample. The caregivers’ lost time from work influence this burden, and for 36% of this sample, it amounts to one third of their working days in any given month. Policies and programs to address these gaps are needed.

Keywords

Cancer Self-administered questionnaire Out-of-pocket costs Financial burden 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Longo
    • 2
  • Margaret Fitch
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Raisa B. Deber
    • 1
  • A. Paul Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Health Services Management, DeGroote School of Business (MGD 210)McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of NursingUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of Graduate StudiesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Psychosocial and Behavioural Research UnitToronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer CentreTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Oncology Nursing and Supportive CareToronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer CentreTorontoCanada

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