‘The bills that were coming in…’: out of pocket costs during relocation for specialist treatment for haematological malignancies
- Pam McGrath
- Supportive Care in Cancer
INTRODUCTION Out of pocket (OOP) costs add to the burden facing breast cancer survivors but remain an understudied area of costs. Current turbulent economic climate increases the urgency to better understand this burden. Few studies or systematic reviews focus on OOP costs. METHODS PubMed search was conducted for articles in English containing: (1) MESH terms breast neoplasms and economics, and (2) words "breast cancer" and "cost" or "costs," "expenditure," or "out of pocket." Limits included: publication dates from January 1, 1980 to December 16, 2009, and populations aged > or = 45 years old. Articles were excluded based on title, abstract, and full text reviews. Citation searches and searches of reference lists were also conducted. Three articles were selected for this review. RESULTS Medical direct OOP costs (e.g., for physician fees) ranged from $300 to $1,180 per month during active treatment, and were about $500 per month 1 year post diagnosis. Non-medical direct OOP costs (e.g., for transportation to doctor's office, parking etc.) ranged from $137 to $174 per month in the year post diagnosis; and $200-$509 per month 1 year or more after diagnosis. Different types of costs were identified. CONCLUSION OOP costs represent a significant burden for survivors even after initial treatment. The nature and extent of OOP costs need further evaluation. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS OOP costs are rarely considered. However, as OOP costs affect the well being of cancer survivors, they should be understood more fully and possibly addressed in interventions aimed at improving quality of life.