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Financial stress and strain associated with terminal cancer: a review of the evidence

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Palliative Medicine
Issue number7
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)595-607
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Financial circumstances are a significant influence on the quality of life for older people and may be important to health and wellbeing at the end of life. The aim of this study is to review the evidence for the existence and consequences of financial stress and strain at the end of life for people dying with cancer. We conducted a systematic search of four electronic databases for studies, providing data on illness-related financial burden (stress), or perception of financial hardship (strain), from patients with terminal cancer or their caregivers. Twenty-four papers were identified from 21 studies published in English between 1980 and 2006, the majority (14) of cross-sectional design. Financial stress was reported in all 13 studies from the USA (median 33%, range 10-66%), but only four sought measures of financial strain. In the USA, specific social consequences, such as moving house or change in employment to cope with caregiving, were reported in four of these studies; one of these also noted changes in treatment choices and avoidance of care for other family members. In studies from outside the USA, there is a dearth of data on financial stresses and the consequences of this for the household, despite widespread reporting of financial strain. To fill a gap in our understanding and improve holistic palliative care, researchers need to ask the questions about the consequences of financial stresses and strain for the health and wellbeing of the household.