CHARLESTON, SC — Not all of the damage caused by prostate cancer is to men’s bodies.
An article in Cancer Medicine looked at the financial toxicity and strain among men in an equal access healthcare system, the VA, based on social determinants and clinical characteristics.1
Researchers from the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC and the Medical University of South Carolina conducted an observational study among 49 men receiving prostate cancer care at a VHA facility. They defined financial hardship as including overall financial strain and financial toxicity due to healthcare costs. Researcher said financial strain was measured with one item asking how much money they have leftover at the end of the month, while financial toxicity was measured with the Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity (COST) scale.
Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity scores among participants indicated moderate levels of financial toxicity (M = 24.4, SD = 9.9), according to the results. For financial strain, 36% of participants reported that they did not have enough money left over at the end of the month.
While there were no racial or clinically related differences in financial toxicity, according to the authors, race and income level had significant associations with financial strain.
“Financial toxicity and strain should be measured among patients in an equal access healthcare system,” researchers concluded. “Findings suggest that social determinants may be important to assess, to identify patients who may be most likely to experience financial hardship in the context of obtaining cancer care and implement efforts to mitigate the burden for those patients.”
- Bauer AG, Jefferson M, Nahhas GJ, Savage S, Drake R, Lilly M, Ambrose L, Caulder S, Mahvi D, Hughes Halbert C. Financial toxicity and strain among men receiving prostate cancer care in an equal access healthcare system. Cancer Med. 2020 Dec;9(23):8765-8771. doi: 10.1002/cam4.3484. Epub 2020 Oct 17. PMID: 33070458; PMCID: PMC7724486.