I could lose everything: understanding the cost of a brain tumor
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Although studies have quantified the costs of cancer treatment, few have evaluated the widespread impact of cancer costs on the family unit. Specifically, little is known regarding how cancer affects patients and their families financially, and how they cope with these costs. The purpose of this descriptive study was to explore the financial impact of cancer care in neuro-oncology. Content analysis was used to examine data from interviews with 20 adults receiving treatment for a primary malignant brain tumor. Participants were recruited from across the United States through an advertisement in a national support group newsletter. Four major themes were identified -“paying for medication/healthcare”, “strategies to offset costs”, “impact of cancer costs”, and “fear/uncertainty”. Within the major themes several sub-themes were also recognized. In the theme of paying for medication/healthcare, participants emphasized sub-themes such as frustrations over “not qualifying/red tape” and being “thankful” for what was covered. Some of the strategies used to offset cancer costs included “cashing in” and relying on “family/friends” for financial support. When describing the impact of cancer costs, participants mentioned sub-themes including the “cost to their family”, the “cost of their disability”, and the impact of a “change in income/job”. Results elucidate the financial concerns and coping strategies of persons undergoing treatment for cancer. These data help target patients’ support needs during treatment, such as providing for their family and navigating their insurance policies, and suggest more efficient implementation of financial interventions are needed to alleviate the emotional burden of cancer costs.
KeywordsBrain tumor Cancer cost Cancer economics Cancer finances Financial burden
Center for Research Evaluation, School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, The American Brain Tumor Association for their recruitment assistance.
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