Financial catastrophe, treatment discontinuation and death associated with surgically operable cancer in South-East Asia: Results from the ACTION Study.
ACTION Study Group None., Jan S., Kimman M., Peters SA., Woodward M.
BACKGROUND: This study assessed the extent to which individuals with surgically operable cancer in Southeast Asia experience financially catastrophic out-of-pocket costs, discontinuation of treatment, or death. METHODS: The ACTION study is a prospective, 8-country, cohort study of adult patients recruited consecutively with an initial diagnosis of cancer from public and private hospitals. Participants were interviewed at baseline and 3 months. In this paper, we identified 4,584 participants in whom surgery was indicated in initial treatment plans and assessed the following competing outcomes: death, financial catastrophe (out-of-pocket costs of >30% of annual household income), treatment discontinuation, and hospitalization without financial catastrophe incurred. We then analyzed a range of predictors using a multinomial regression model. RESULTS: Of the participants, 72% were female and 44% had health insurance at baseline. At 3 months, 31% of participants incurred financial catastrophe, 8% had died, 23% had discontinued treatment, and 38% were hospitalized but avoided financial catastrophe. Health insurance status was found to be associated with lower odds of treatment discontinuation (odds ratio [OR], 0.60; 95% CI, 0.47-0.77) relative to hospitalization without financial catastrophe. Women had greater odds of financial catastrophe than men (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.05-1.74), whereas lower socioeconomic status (range of indicators) was generally found to be associated with higher odds of death, treatment discontinuation, and financial catastrophe. CONCLUSION: Priority should be given to measures such as programs to extend social health insurance to offset the out-of-pocket costs associated with surgery for cancer faced in particular by women, the uninsured, and individuals of low socioeconomic status in Southeast Asia.