Personal financial effects of multiple myeloma and its treatment

Cancer Nurs. 2013 Jul-Aug;36(4):301-8. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182693522.


Background: Improvements in some treatment programs for multiple myeloma (MM) are increasing survival. As patients live longer with MM as a chronic disease, the personal financial effects of MM treatment become a serious concern.

Objective: The objective of this study was to identify the personal financial effects of MM and its treatment in 5 areas: employment, disability, health/medical and life insurance, retirement, and out-of-pocket expenses.

Methods: We mailed a questionnaire about financial issues to 1015 patients who had received intensive treatment for MM at the study site. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and comparisons using independent t tests.

Results: Our sample (n = 762; mean age, 61 [SD, 9.26] years) experienced issues with employment (66% employed at diagnosis and treatment; 33% employed at questionnaire time), disability (35% applied), health/medical and life insurance (29% lost coverage and 8% changed coverage), retirement (13% retired during treatment), and out-of-pocket expenses (36% of income in first treatment year and 28% of income during most recent 12 months).

Conclusions: Issues of employment, disability, health insurance, retirement, and out-of-pocket costs for treatment are major challenges for patients.

Implications for practice: In the midst of assessing physical needs during clinical trials for chemotherapy and stem cell transplants, healthcare providers must keep sight of patients' personal financial needs so that we can intervene promptly with referrals to social work, rehabilitation therapy, and other healthcare professions to help patients decrease the personal financial effects of MM and its treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Employment / economics
  • Female
  • Financing, Personal / economics*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Insurance Coverage / economics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / diagnosis
  • Multiple Myeloma / economics*
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Retirement / economics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States