People with lung or colon cancer with little financial reserves will likely suffer more pain and even worse symptoms than those who have sufficient savings, a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology says.
These cancer sufferers with little finances also experienced significantly poorer quality of life than those who had more than a year of funds.
Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Duke University School of Medicine, University of Michigan, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health interviewed patients with colorectal or lung cancer diagnoses about their financial strain, quality of life, and symptom severity. A total of 3,419 patients participated in the interviews, which were conducted 4 and 12 months after diagnosis.
Study participants reported greater symptom burden, worse quality of life, and higher degrees of reported pain when limited financial reserves were identified.
Of the participants, 40% with lung cancer and 33% with colorectal cancer reported some degree of financial strain (defined as having fiscal reserves equal to or less than 2 months).
The study’s authors wrote, “Relative to patients with more than 12 months of financial reserves, those with limited financial reserves reported significantly increased pain (adjusted mean difference, 5.03 [95% CI, 3.29 to 7.22] and 3.45 [95% CI, 1.25 to 5.66], respectively, for lung and colorectal), greater symptom burden (5.25 [95% CI, 3.29 to .22] and 5.31 [95% CI, 3.58 to 7.04]), and poorer QOL (4.70 [95% CI, 2.82 to 6.58] and 5.22 [95% CI, 3.61 to 6.82]).”
The study concluded, ‘Patients with cancer and limited financial reserves are more likely to have higher symptom burden and decreased QOL. Assessment of financial reserves may help identify patients who need intensive support.”