Strategies Adopted by Patients Coping with Treatment-Related Financial Distress

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Patients with cancer experiencing treatment-related financial distress adopted lifestyle-altering strategies more often than care-altering approaches, according to an article published online in the journal Psycho-Oncology.

The investigators aimed to identify and categorize coping strategies adopted by patients receiving cancer treatment between June 2010 and May 2011.  A total of 174 patients were included in the data set and their coping approaches were categorized as either lifestyle altering or care altering.

Results showed a majority (89%) of patients adopted at least one lifestyle-altering strategy, compared to 39% who used a care-altering strategy.

The authors identified care-altering approaches used by patients as including not filling a prescription (28%) and taking less medication than prescribed by their physician (23%).  The lifestyle-altering coping strategies were identified as including spending less on leisure activities and on basics (77% and 57%, respectfully), borrowing money (54%), and spending their savings (50%).

Overall, younger patients adopted coping strategies more than older patients (P=0.03).  Lifestyle-altering coping strategies were more likely to be used by patients with a higher education and shorter duration of chemotherapy (P<0.05).

Truly Personalized Medicine' Emphasizes Value—Not Cost—of Cancer Care
Patients with cancer experiencing treatment-related financial distress adopted lifestyle-altering strategies more often than care-altering approaches.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey study to determine which patients are at greatest risk for altering their care or lifestyle due to treatment-related financial distress.
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