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I’m at the Mercy of the Cost of Food: The Impact of Inflation on Financial Toxicity in Cancer Immunotherapy Patients

Semester: Summer 2023

Presentation description

In the past decade, immunotherapies have become the standard of care in the treatment of advanced solid tumors including lung cancer and head and neck cancers. For these patients, financial toxicity has traditionally been documented to be a hardship. Immunotherapy treatments are expensive and cancer patients often continue on these treatments till the end of life. Recently the United States has witnessed historic inflation following the COVID-19 lockdowns, which saw the cost of everyday items such as food and gas rising. While financial toxicity has been well documented in cancer patients, no studies have considered the additional burden of inflation. As such, this study aims to look at the impact of inflation on the financial outcomes of cancer patients undergoing immunotherapy and their caregivers. 19 dyads of cancer immunotherapy patients, who received care at the Lung Clinic and Head and Neck Clinic at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and their caregivers were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews which examined areas of unmet need. Content specific to financial toxicity was coded with a deductive codebook based on the theoretical model of financial burden after cancer diagnosis outlined by Jones 2020 in NVIVO version 1.7.1. Participants were also assessed for demographics and financial toxicity. Patients were on average on 62 years old, had primary advanced or recurrent head and neck or lung cancers, and the majority were treated with Pembrolizumab. The most common codes were patient's receipt of formal material support, followed by dissatisfaction with their financial situation and stress from medical costs. Report of medical debt was correlated with participants struggling to plan for the future and navigate government benefits. Participants with non-medical sources of financial toxicity were more likely to receive material support from social networks and forgo medical care because of cost. Results demonstrate that both medical and non-medical financial toxicity was a source of uncertainty about patient's long term treatment plans.

Presenter Name: Irene Liang
Presentation Type: Poster
Presentation Format: In Person
Presentation #26
College: Nursing
Research Mentor: Djin Tay
Date | Time: Thursday, Aug 3rd | 10:30 AM