Goals of work: To determine the financial and family resources burden associated with the treatment of cancer. A questionnaire was developed to determine the direct monthly "out-of-pocket costs" (OOPC), the indirect costs, and the associated perceived family burden.
Materials and methods: A self-administered questionnaire using a quota sample from five cancer clinics in Ontario, Canada was given to 282 cancer patients (74 breast, 70 colorectal, 68 lung, and 70 prostate). Monthly OOPC were obtained for: drugs, home care, homemaking, complementary and alternative medicines, vitamins and supplements, family care, travel, parking, accommodations, devices, and others. The questionnaire asked if OOPC for treatment were a burden, and if others took time from work to provide caregiving.
Main results: The mean monthly OOPC was $213, with an additional $372 related to imputed travel costs. For those patients who responded that the burden was "significant" (16.5%), their OOPC was $452. In the case of patients responding that their burden was "unmanageable" (3.9%), their OOPC was $544. The survey showed that 35.6% of patients required others to take time from work and this was higher in the under-65 category. The mean number of days lost from work in the previous 30 days for these caregivers was 7 days.
Conclusions: These results suggest the financial burden is problematic for 20% of this sample. The caregivers' lost time from work influence this burden, and for 36% of this sample, it amounts to one third of their working days in any given month. Policies and programs to address these gaps are needed.