A prospective study to determine the costs incurred by families of children newly diagnosed with cancer in Ontario

Psychooncology. 2012 Oct;21(10):1113-23. doi: 10.1002/pon.2009. Epub 2011 Jul 20.


Objectives: A diagnosis of cancer in childhood places a considerable economic burden on families, although costs are not well described. The objectives of this study were to identify and determine independent predictors of the direct and time costs incurred by such families.

Methods: A prospective, cost-of-illness study was conducted in families of children newly diagnosed with cancer. Parents recorded the resources consumed and costs incurred during 1 week per month for three consecutive months beginning the fourth week following diagnosis and listed any additional costs incurred since then. Descriptive and multiple regression analyses were performed to describe families' costs (expressed in 2007 Canadian dollars) and to determine direct and time cost predictors.

Results: In total, 28 fathers and 71 mothers participated. The median total direct and time costs in 3 months were $CAD3503 and $CAD23 130, respectively, per family. The largest component of direct costs was travel and of time costs was time allocated previously for unpaid activities. There were no statistically significant predictors of direct costs. Six per cent of the variance for time costs was explained by language spoken at home.

Conclusions: Families of children with cancer are confronted with a wide range of direct and time costs, the largest being travel and time allocated previously for unpaid activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Data Collection
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / economics*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Ontario
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult