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Financial Toxicity Rife Among Patients With Multiple Myeloma

Insured patients frequently report using savings or borrowing money to pay for treatment

FRIDAY, Sept. 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Insured patients with multiple myeloma frequently report financial toxicity and use of coping mechanisms, according to a study published online Sept. 16 in The Lancet Haematology.

Scott F. Huntington, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional survey of 100 individuals receiving at least three months of treatment for multiple myeloma. The survey included the 11-item COST measure, which gives a financial toxicity score ranging from 0 to 44.

The researchers found that 59 percent of patients reported that treatment costs were higher than expected, while 71 and 36 percent, respectively, reported having at least minor financial burden and applying for financial assistance. Patients often used savings to pay for myeloma treatment (46 percent), and 21 percent reported borrowing money to pay for medications. There was a strong correlation for COST scores with patient-reported use of strategies to cope with myeloma treatment expenses. Younger age, nonmarried status, longer duration since diagnosis, and lower household income correlated with higher financial burden, as measured by the COST score, in multivariable analysis.

"Additional attention to rising treatment costs and cost sharing is needed to address the increasing evidence of financial toxicity affecting patients with cancer," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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