Financial hardship is most common among cancer survivors with the fewest financial resources at diagnosis; however, little is known about the financial outcomes of young adult (YA) survivors (ages 20–39 at diagnosis), despite their having fewer financial reserves than older adults.
We utilized data from 3,888 participants in the population-based Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors cohort. Participants self-reported several forms of material and behavioral financial hardship (MFH and BFH, respectively). Psychological financial hardship (PFH) was measured using the Comprehensive Score for financial Toxicity (COST) score. Modified Poisson models estimated prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for financial hardship by age at diagnosis controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and cancer-related factors.
MFH prevalence was inversely associated with age such that 72% of YA survivors reported MFH, 62% ages 40 to 54, 49% ages 55 to 64, and 33% ages 65 to 79 (PRadjusted YA vs. 65+: 1.75; 95% CI, 1.49–2.04; Ptrend < 0.001). BFH was also more common among YA survivors (26%) than those ages 65 to 79 (20%; PRadjusted: 1.50; 95% CI, 1.08–2.08; Ptrend = 0.019). Age was positively associated with financial wellbeing. COST scores ranged from 20.7 (95% CI, 19.0–22.4) among YA survivors to 27.2 (95% CI, 26.1–28.2) among adults 65 to 79 years old (Ptrend < 0.001).
In this population of African American cancer survivors, MFH and BFH were more common, and PFH was more severe, in YA survivors compared with those diagnosed as older adults.
Young adulthood at diagnosis should be considered a risk factor for cancer-related financial hardship and addressed in work designed to reduce the adverse financial impacts of cancer.