The aim of this interview study was to ask patients with head and neck cancer in the Mersey region about their need for financial benefits, the advice they were given about benefits and financial matters, and the financial burden of the disease. Stratified quota sampling was by employment status, whether work had been affected by the cancer, and by sex. Of 51 interviewees (mean (SD) age 61(8) years) 20 were retired, 11 were unemployed, 13 worked full-time, and 7 worked part-time. Cancer had affected the work status of 24. Since diagnosis 57% had suffered financially; this was particularly high in those who had retired (65%), and in those whose work had been affected by cancer (79%). Quality of life had decreased in 53% as a result of the financial impact of the disease. This was most common in the unemployed (64%), and in those whose work was affected by cancer (83%). Only a quarter had been given adequate help and information about finance; this was lowest in the unemployed (18%) and highest in those who were fully employed (39%). One third (17/51) had never claimed benefits. The most common benefits were Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit. Two-thirds (21/31) had applied for benefits after diagnosis, 18 of these were directly as a result of the disease. The median (IQR) weekly income from benefits was £88 (£60-170). Patients and carers need better access to financial advice. We suggest that each multidisciplinary team should have a designated benefits or financial advisor who is readily available to patients in the clinic and on the ward.
Rogers, S. N., Harvey-Woodworth, C. N., & Lowe, D. (2012). Patients’ perspective of financial benefits following head and neck cancer in Merseyside and Cheshire. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 50(5), 404-409. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjoms.2011.07.020