Journal Article
Multicenter Study
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Financial difficulties experienced by patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) in the Netherlands: data from a cross-sectional multicentre study.

PURPOSE: This study aims to (1) explore the prevalence of patient-reported financial difficulties among GIST patients, differentiating between those currently undergoing tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment and those who are not; (2) investigate associations between financial difficulties and sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, work, cancer-related concerns, anxiety and depression and (3) study the impact of financial difficulties on health-related quality of life.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among Dutch GIST patients diagnosed between 2008 and 2018, who were invited to complete a one-time survey between September 2020 and June 2021. Patients completed nine items of the EORTC item bank regarding financial difficulties, seven work-related questions, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Cancer Worry Scale and EORTC QLQ-C30.

RESULTS: In total, 328 GIST patients participated (response rate 63.0%), of which 110 (33.8%) were on TKI treatment. Patients currently treated with TKIs reported significantly more financial difficulties compared to patients not on TKIs (17.3% vs 8.7%, p = 0.03). The odds of experiencing financial difficulties was 18.9 (95% CI 1.7-214.7, p = 0.02) times higher in patients who were less able to work due to their GIST diagnosis. Patients who experienced financial difficulties had significantly lower global quality of life and functioning, and more frequently reported psychological symptoms as compared to patients who did not report financial difficulties.

CONCLUSION: Even in a country where the costs of TKIs and follow-up care are covered by health insurance, financial difficulties can be present in GIST patients, especially in patients on TKI treatment, and may negatively influence the quality of life.

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