Investigators suggest that funding mechanisms and interpersonal support systems are unsustainable for long-term care.
Financial and time-related burdens not only negatively affect individuals with gynecologic cancer but quality of life (QOL) as well, according to the results of 2 studies presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) 2023 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer.
SGO is a specialty medical association for health care professionals who are trained in the management of gynecological cancers.
In the first study presented, investigators examined treatment-related time burden among 75 women who have advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer to determine time-related QOL and time-related toxicity between treatment courses. The median age was 67 years, with 51% of individuals being white, 41% Black, and 8% being another ethnicity or race.
“Patient-centered outcomes are important to consider as we make difficult treatment decisions in the recurrent setting,” Sarah Ackroyd, MD, MPH, an investigator said in a statement.
“Time toxicity is a potential new outcome measure that can help us understand the treatment-related time demands our patients' experience,” she said. “I hope that this framework can be further developed and used to improve the workflow of cancer care and the [QOL] of our patients.”
Investigators found that women who had advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer spent more time tending to their needs during treatment. Additionally, they found it was correlated with worse QOL scores.
In the second study, investigators examined the financial and social impact of ovarian cancer care, as well as strategies implemented by patients and their support systems. They included 40 individuals with recurrent advanced-stage ovarian cancer, who participated in qualitative interviews about their financial experiences and how it affected their care. Individuals had a median age of 59.3 years, and the median time from diagnosis was 44.7 months.
The individuals reported that they cut back on leisure activities and necessities, because of their health care.
They also said that financial and social support was received through crowdsourcing strategies and social networks to help fund their care.
“Participants in our study had health insurance and were receiving care at a comprehensive cancer center, yet they reported significant financial distress, causing them to lose their employment, insurance, homes, and other assets,” Naomi Adjei, MD, MPH, MSEd, an investigator, said in the statement.
“How are cancer patients in less-affluent settings with fewer safety nets coping? Policies and interventions that promote timely cancer care accessibility, innovative insurance models, and value-based care will protect patients, their families, and their interpersonal social networks, as well as ensure more sustainable health care spending by the US health care system,” Adjei said.
Investigators suggested that funding mechanisms and interpersonal support systems are unsustainable for long-term care and called on more reliable systems for patients to alleviate cancer-related financial distress.
Gynecologic cancer patients report time-related burdens and financial toxicities impact quality of life. Society of Gynecologic Oncology. News release. March 26, 2023. Accessed March 27, 2023. Email.