Dr Khan on the Effects of Financial Toxicity on Survival Outcomes in Patients With Cancer

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Hiba Khan, MD, MPH, discusses how adverse financial events may contribute to the risk of early mortality in patients with cancer.

Hiba Khan, MD, MPH, hematology/oncology fellow, Fred Hutch Cancer Center, discusses how adverse financial events may contribute to the risk of early mortality in patients with cancer.

A study presented at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting aimed to determine the effects of adverse financial events on overall survival in patients with cancer. This study pooled records from the Western Washington State Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry of all patients who were diagnosed with a solid tumor between 2013 and 2018. These records were linked with quarterly credit reports from TransUnion. The investigators compared patients with cancer who experienced adverse financial events within 2 years of their cancer diagnosis with those who did not experience adverse financial events.

Financial toxicity, also called financial hardship or economic hardship, is defined as the financial implications of cancer treatment that patients may experience, Khan says. The goal of this study was to delineate objective measures of financial toxicity in the form of adverse financial events and determine the correlation between these events and cancer outcomes, Khan explains. In this study, adverse financial events were defined as the inability to pay bills, involving third party collections or charge-offs; the risk for creditor actions against property, involving tax liens or delinquent mortgage payments; and creditors assuming property, involving foreclosures or repossessions.

This study found that patients with cancer who experienced adverse financial events had a higher risk of early mortality (HR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.17-1.29; P < .001), potentially resulting from the financial toxicity they experienced, Khan emphasizes. Additionally, after censoring patients who experienced adverse financial events before their cancer diagnosis, this study found that patients who experienced a new severe adverse financial event after their cancer diagnosis were also at high risk for mortality (HR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.25-1.40; P < .001). This research lends continued evidence to support the hypothesis that patients with financial toxicity have worse cancer outcomes than those without financial toxicity, Khan concludes.

Disclosures: Dr Khan has no relationships to disclose.

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