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

Academic Article


  • © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 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.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pisu M; Martin MY; Shewchuk R; Meneses K
  • Start Page

  • 3045
  • End Page

  • 3052
  • Volume

  • 22
  • Issue

  • 11