The Economic Impact of Glioma Survivorship: the cost of care from a patient perspective

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OBJECTIVE: We aimed to characterize the socioeconomic impact of glioma for patients with clinical and radiographic evidence of disease stability, using the standardized Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Household Component (MEPS-HC).

METHODS: The MEPS-HC questionnaire was used to investigate the degree of economic hardship referable to the patient's brain tumor and treatment. The questionnaire included demographic variables such as age at diagnosis, ethnicity, highest level of education, and annual household income. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize variables and between-group comparisons were evaluated using Fisher's exact test.

RESULTS: Of 127 pre-screened patients, 89 of 107 eligible patients completed the survey. Pathology at diagnosis was predominantly low grade (60%). Most patients were insured at time of diagnosis (91%), married (76%), and employed (79%) with annual household incomes slightly higher than the national average. Despite this nearly a quarter incurred debt referable to brain tumor care (24%), 53% required extended unpaid time off, and 46% retired or were no longer working. Financial burden and workforce morbidity were insensitive to tumor location, laterality, and annual household income. Patients with gross-total resection (GTR) at initial surgery were less likely to report ongoing limitations in daily activities (45% v. 83%, p=0.004).

CONCLUSIONS: Even in a population of stable, high-functioning glioma survivors, financial burden and workforce morbidity was ubiquitous across all tumor subtypes, treatment paradigms, and income levels.

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ePub ahead of print