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Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 3045–3052 | Cite as

Dealing with the financial burden of cancer: perspectives of older breast cancer survivors

  • Maria PisuEmail author
  • Michelle Y. Martin
  • Richard Shewchuk
  • Karen Meneses
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Financial burden among cancer survivors is often overlooked in survivorship care planning. Cancer survivors with limited incomes may be particularly affected. Yet, little data are available to address financial issues among them. Eliciting the survivors’ perspectives on how to deal with this financial burden is a first crucial step to identifying the means to provide this supportive care.

Methods

In this pilot study, three nominal group technique (NGT) sessions were conducted with a convenience sample of 23 older breast cancer survivors (age 52 to 83) recruited from a county safety net hospital and a Comprehensive Cancer Center. One single NGT question was posed in these sessions, namely “What could help women deal with the financial burden that cancer brings to them and their families?” Survivors responded in an iterative fashion and then ranked the most relevant responses.

Results

The most relevant responses addressed the (1) need for affordable insurance; (2) need to have prompt information on treatment costs patients will face, insurance coverage, and agencies or programs that provide needed products and services; and (3) need to access social workers, navigators, support groups, or others knowledgeable about available resources. Survivors also suggested that physicians become aware of cancer costs and financial issues faced by patients and consider costs in their treatment plans.

Conclusions

Older survivors face financial challenges for which there are few available resources. They suggested several avenues to address cancer-related financial issues that may be considered in developing supportive interventions.

Keywords

Survivorship Breast cancer Financial burden Financial toxicity Older women 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the breast cancer survivors who participated in this study and Dr. Chastity McDavid and Ms. Aquila Brown-Galvan for their contribution. This project was supported by the National Institutes of Aging (P30AG031054), the National Institute of Nursing Research (1R01NR011885), and the National Cancer Institute (5R01CA120638). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent official views of the NIA.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial conflicts of interest to disclose and have full control of all primary data. The authors agree to allow the journal to review the data if requested.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Pisu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle Y. Martin
    • 1
  • Richard Shewchuk
    • 2
  • Karen Meneses
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Preventive Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Services AdministrationUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  3. 3.School of Nursing and Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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