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Caring for Children in Relation to Financial Hardship, Advance Care Planning, and Genetic Testing Among Adolescent and Young Adults with Cancer

Purpose: When a cancer diagnosis coincides with caring for children, it may influence the financial impacts of cancer and decisions to pursue advance care planning (ACP) or genetic testing. We examined associations between caring for children and financial hardship, ACP, and genetic testing among female adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors in North Carolina and California. Methods: Participants were diagnosed at ages 15-39 years with breast, melanoma, gynecologic, lymphoma, or thyroid cancer during 2004-2016. We estimated adjusted prevalence differences (aPDs) and ratios (aPRs) for each outcome by child caring status using marginal structural binomial regression models. Results: Among 1595 women ages 19-54 years at survey (median = 7 years since diagnosis), 819 (51.3%) reported that they were caring for children at diagnosis. Women caring for children had a higher prevalence of material financial hardship (e.g., medical debt; 30% vs. 21.9%; aPD = 9%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3 to 14; aPR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.12 to 1.72) but similar levels of psychological financial hardship compared to noncaregivers. Women caring for children were more likely to complete ACPs (42.2% vs. 30.7%; aPD = 9%, 95% CI: 3 to 16; aPR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.08 to 1.57). Among the 723 survivors of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, the prevalence of genetic testing was higher among women caring for children (89%) than noncaregivers (81%); this difference was not statistically significant. Conclusion: Women caring for children at diagnosis may be at elevated risk for adverse financial outcomes and may benefit from additional financial navigation support. Childcare responsibilities may further complicate health decision-making for AYAs diagnosed with cancer.

Authors: Tan, Kelly R;Kirchhoff, Anne C;Chao, Chun R;Nichols, Hazel B;et al.

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2023 Jun 01.

PubMed abstract

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