Objectives: The primary outcome measures evaluated the financial toxicity and mental well-being of the oral cancer survivors. Methods: A cross-sectional study of oral cancer survivors who were disease-free for more than 6 months after treatment and visited the hospital for a routine follow-up is included in the study. Mental well-being and financial toxicity were evaluated using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale - 21 (DASS 21) and Comprehensive Score for financial Toxicity (COST- Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy) questionnaires. A literature review was done to compare the results with financial toxicity and mental health in cancer patients from the pre-pandemic era. Results: A total of 79 oral cancer survivors were included in the study, predominantly males (M: F = 10:1). The age ranged from 26 to 75 years (The median age is 49). The full-time employment dropped from 83.5% in the pre-treatment period to 21.5% post-treatment. Depression was observed in 58.2% and anxiety in 72.2%. Unemployed survivors were observed to have more depression (OR = 1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.3–5.4, p = 0.6), anxiety (OR = 3.5, 95% CI = 0.3–21.2, p = 0.1) and stress (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 0.3–6.6, p = 0.5) than rest of the cohort. On univariate analysis, unemployed survivors (M = 11.8 ± 3.8, p = 0.01) had significantly poorer financial toxicity scores. Survivors with depression (M = 16.4 ± 7.1, p = 0.06) and stress (M = 14.4 ± 6.8, p = 0.002) had poor financial toxicity scores. On multifactorial analysis of variance, current employment (p = 0.04) and treatment modality (p = 0.05) were significant factors impacting the financial toxicity. Conclusion: There is a trend towards increased incidence of depression, anxiety, and stress among oral cancer survivors compared to the literature from the pre-COVID era. There is significant financial toxicity among either unemployed or part-time workers. This calls for urgent public/government intervention to prevent the long-term impact of financial toxicity on survival and quality of life.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health