Material, behavioral, and psychological financial hardship among survivors of childhood cancer in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study

Cancer. 2021 Sep 1;127(17):3214-3222. doi: 10.1002/cncr.33613. Epub 2021 Jun 1.


Background: Medical financial burden includes material, behavioral, and psychological hardship and has been underinvestigated among adult survivors of childhood cancer.

Methods: A survey from 698 survivors and 210 siblings from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study was analyzed. The intensity of financial hardship was estimated across 3 domains: 1) material, including conditions that arise from medical expenses; 2) behavioral, including coping behaviors to manage medical expenses; and 3) psychological hardship resulting from worries about medical expenses and insurance, as measured by the number of instances of each type of financial hardship (0, 1-2, and ≥3 instances). Multivariable logistic regressions were conducted to examine the clinical and sociodemographic predictors of experiencing financial hardship (0-2 vs ≥3 instances).

Results: The intensity of financial hardship did not significantly differ between survivors and siblings. Survivors reported more instances of material hardship than siblings (1-2 instances: 27.2% of survivors vs 22.6% of siblings; ≥3 instances: 15.9% of survivors vs 11.4% siblings; overall P = .03). In multivariable regressions, insurance was protective against all domains of financial hardship (behavioral odds ratio [OR], 0.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.06-0.22; material OR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.19-0.71; psychological OR, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.05-0.21). Survivors who were older at diagnosis, female, and with chronic health conditions generally had higher levels of hardship. Brain radiation and alkylating agents were associated with higher levels of hardship.

Conclusions: Material, behavioral, and psychological financial burden among survivors of childhood cancer is common.

Keywords: cancer survivors; financial hardship; survivors of childhood cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cancer Survivors* / psychology
  • Child
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Financial Stress
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / psychology
  • Survivors