Out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer probably manageable for most Canadian women

January 24, 2013

Out-of-pocket costs resulting from breast cancer care in the year following diagnosis are likely manageable for most women, but some women are at a higher risk of experiencing the financial burden that comes from those costs in Canadian breast cancer patients, according to a study published January 24 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

While extensive information about the level of out-of-pocket after early breast cancer diagnosis has been unavailable until now, the costs resulting from the disease and the effects the costs have on family financial situations may highlight a negative consequence of the disease further down the road. Despite the publically provided health care provided in Canada, patients still incur costs from transportation to treatments, follow-up visits, consultations, and domestic help, particularly during the first year following diagnosis.

In order to determine the extent of out-of-pocket costs and the effects they have on and families in the first year after diagnosis, Sophie Lauzier, Ph.D., Unité de recherche en santé des populations (URESP), Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada, together with colleagues in the team led by Elizabeth Maunsell, Ph.D., estimated the costs incurred using information obtained from telephone interviews with patients and families. Generalized linear models identified women at risk for having higher costs and the effects that those costs may have on the financial situation of their families.

The researchers found that the overall, women's median out-of-pocket costs during the year following diagnosis were $1,002 (in 2003 Canadian dollars), once any insurance or had been taken into account. The percentages of women with higher out-of-pocket costs were significantly greater among the more highly educated, those working at the time of diagnosis and those living at least 50 km from the hospital where the surgery occurred. The proportion of family income represented by out-of-pocket costs was higher for women with lower incomes. However, in terms of the impact of these costs on changes for the worse in the family's during the year after diagnosis "we found that women's out-of-pocket costs played a secondary role to wage losses; it is wage losses that appeared to drive changes for the worse," the authors write.

In an accompanying editorial, Matthew P. Banegas, Ph.D., and K. Robin Yabroff, Ph.D., M.B.A., both of the Health Services and Economics Branch Applied Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute write that the study adds to the important information to understanding the of cancer. "Overall, such evidence on the scope of financial consequences of cancer care for patients and their families, in addition to the clinical benefits and risks, will enhance discussions of the "value" of cancer treatment, which is something oncologists in both the United States and Canada acknowledge as a fundamental component of high-quality care."

Explore further: Financial burden of prescription drugs is dropping: Costs remain a challenge for many

Related Stories

Financial burden of prescription drugs is dropping: Costs remain a challenge for many

February 8, 2012
The financial burden Americans face paying out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs has declined, although prescription costs remain a significant challenge for people with lower incomes and those with public insurance, ...

New study: Health reform to make health insurance affordable for nearly all families

April 27, 2011
Ninety percent of American families living above the federal poverty level will be able to afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report by Jonathan Gruber and Ian Perry ...

Study finds bankruptcy rates among cancer patients increase along with survival time

June 7, 2011
An analysis linking federal bankruptcy court records to cancer registry data from nearly 232,000 adult cancer cases in western Washington during a 14-year period has found a hidden cost to survival: Insolvency rates increase ...

Recommended for you

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

Anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent inhibits glioblastoma growth and radiation resistance

July 24, 2017
Glioblastoma is a primary brain tumor with dismal survival rates, even after treatment with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A small subpopulation of tumor cells—glioma stem cells—is responsible for glioblastoma's ...

New therapeutic approach for difficult-to-treat subtype of ovarian cancer identified

July 24, 2017
A potential new therapeutic strategy for a difficult-to-treat form of ovarian cancer has been discovered by Wistar scientists. The findings were published online in Nature Cell Biology.

Immune cells the missing ingredient in new bladder cancer treatment

July 24, 2017
New research offers a possible explanation for why a new type of cancer treatment hasn't been working as expected against bladder cancer.

No dye: Cancer patients' gray hair darkened on immune drugs

July 21, 2017
Cancer patients' gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads.

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.