New paper released - financial impact of a cancer diagnosis

A new paper reports that some patients with cancer in Ireland may experience financial difficulties due to their cancer.

A new paper published in PLoS One by researchers (Dr Linda Sharp and Dr Aileen Timmons) at the National Cancer Registry, reports that some patients with cancer in Ireland may experience financial difficulties due to their cancer.

Although cancer patients may incur a wide range of cancer-related out-of-pocket costs and experience reduced income, the consequences of this financial burden for patients and their families are poorly understood. Dr Timmons interviewed patients with breast, lung and prostate cancer (who were experiencing cancer-related financial difficulties) and hospital-based oncology social workers throughout Ireland to investigate the financial adjustments needed to cope with the cancer-related financial burden.

The financial adjustments reported by participants included: using savings; borrowing money; relying on family and friends for direct and indirect financial help; and cutting back on household spending. Financial distress (people’s reactions to the state of their personal finances) was common. Financial difficulties were more often experienced by patients who were older or younger, working at diagnosis, lacked social support, had dependent children, had low income or had few savings. These issues often interacted with one another.

The findings highlight the need for financial information and advice intermittently following a cancer diagnosis.

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