A recent study examined the possible correlation between symptom burden for patients with lung or colorectal cancer and their financial issues.1

Researchers affiliated with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Duke University School of Medicine; University of Michigan; and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health interviewed patients with colorectal or lung cancer diagnoses about their financial strain, quality of life, and symptom severity. Interviews were conducted at 4 and (when possible) 12 months after diagnosis.

The EuroQoL-5 Dimension Scale and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 were utilized to determine quality of life, and in turn associated with financial situation via linear regression models that incorporated demographic factors, cancer stage at diagnosis, and any comorbidities.

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Patients with lung or colorectal cancer reported greater symptom burden, worse quality of life, and higher degrees of reported pain when limited financial reserves were a factor.

Forty percent of patients with lung cancer and 33% of patients with colorectal cancer reported a degree of financial strain (fiscal reserves equal to or less than 2 months).

The link between financial strain and these medical issues continued for survivors at the 1-year mark and beyond, even after adjustment for cancer stage and comorbidity. The research team concluded that additional support to those patients identified as having low financial reserves would prove beneficial.


1. Lathan CS, Cronin A, Tucker-Seeley R, Zafar SY, Ayanian JZ, Schrag D. Association of financial strain with symptom burden and quality of life for patients with lung or colorectal cancer [published online ahead of print February 29, 2016]. J Clin Oncol. doi:10.1200/JCO.2015.63.2232.