Pilot study to examine cost of cancer care and adverse health outcomes in women diagnosed with breast, cervical and ovarian cancer in India

A major challenge facing cancer care efforts in India is the inadequacy of public spending on health. Out-of-pocket (OOP) payments, which account for more than three-quarters of cancer expenditures in India, push families into poverty, with potentially catastrophic financial impact, especially if the cancer sufferer is the breadwinner. Both cancer treatment and the financial impact can cause psychological distress and adversely impact the quality of life. average hospitalization expenditure. A study on costs borne by the patients and their families In India, as well as the adverse outcomes that ensue cancer diagnosis is crucial for constructing economically sound plans for financing of cancer care.

We propose a pilot study examine the economic impact of breast and cervical cancer on households and assess the incidence of financial catastrophe and economic hardship associated with the illness. In addition, the study will examine the impact of breast and cervical cancer on quality of life of these women. We aim to obtain preliminary data that will allow us to refine the protocol for a larger study on cost of cancer in India.

Research Methodology:
We will conduct a longitudinal study where women with newly diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer and about to start treatment at a tertiary cancer hospital in North India will be recruited. We will follow the recruited women for 6 months. We will interview them at baseline before start of treatment, and at 3 and 6 months to gather information on healthcare expenditure, economic burden, and impact on quality of life.

Current Status: ongoing

Potential Impact:
Our longer-term goal is to derive robust estimates of the economic cost of cancer treatment, including health systems cost, to understand what models of care are affordable and effective, and thereby guide reimbursement decisions for cancer care packages covered under government-funded insurance schemes such as Ayushman Bharat. The proposed pilot study will serve as a requisite initial step for planning a national study, encompassing several sites across India, on cost of cancer treatment that will yield national estimates. This larger study will then feed into the longer-term goal of deriving estimates of cost of cancer care packages considering both the health system and patient perspective.

Significance to Women’s Health:
More women than men have cancer in India, in sharp contrast to the global scenario – men have a 25% higher incidence of cancer than women. This coupled with existing gender disparity in health care expenditures and financing strategies underlines the importance of research around financing cancer care for women in India.

Geographic location: Chandigarh and neighbouring states

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