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About 75% of Advanced Colon Cancer Patients Suffer Major Financial Hardship within 12 Months of First Treatment

Posted: June 19, 2020

Preliminary results from one of the first prospective, multicenter studies of financial toxicity (S1417CD) shows that three out of four people with advanced colon cancer experienced major financial hardship within 12 months of starting treatment.

This is the first completed NCORP-funded cancer care delivery research study, with preliminary results shared at the virtual annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in May.

In a poster discussion sessionExternal Web Site Policy, Veena Shankaran, M.D., M.S., co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said the primary goal of the study was to determine how often patients with metastatic colorectal cancer experienced financial hardship over the course of their treatment. Patients filled out questionnaires assessing assets, debt, spending, stress level, and quality of life when they enrolled in the trial, and then subsequently at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months into their treatment. Researchers also pulled patients’ credit reports at the trial’s start and finish.

Major financial hardship was defined as taking on credit card debt, taking out a loan, having a 20% or greater drop in income, or selling or refinancing a home. Most patients enrolled in the trial had not been considered financially vulnerable before the data was collected. Dr. Shankaran said the findings underscore the need for clinical and policy solutions, such as early financial navigation for patients and the elimination of cost sharing between patients and their insurance companies.