Exploring the impact of out-of-pocket costs on the quality of life of Canadian cancer patients
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OBJECTIVE: To explore cancer patients' perspective about the impact of financial burden on quality of life. METHODS: A qualitative descriptive approach was utilized. In-depth interview transcripts from 14 survivors were subjected to a thematic analysis. RESULTS: All participants experienced reduced income and increased out-of-pocket costs following their diagnosis. None worked during their treatment interval. They described profound impacts on the social, psychological, and spiritual domains of quality of life from the financial challenges. Many were worried about having sufficient funds to support themselves in the long term and felt this added to the burden they were carrying. Most found the financial challenges surprising and unexpected. Additionally, the impact was also experienced by their family members. IMPLICATIONS: Healthcare providers ought to be aware of the potential impact financial challenges can have and the distress they bring about. A discussion about financial concerns needs to occur at the beginning of the cancer journey, with appropriate resources made available, and monitored regularly.
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