Background: Existing comprehensive patient assistance programs can help cancer patients overcome needs and barriers to care: yet the costs of such programs and who utilizes them is not well described. Methods: 333 women with primary early stage breast cancer in New York City either chose to attend or abstain from attending one of these programs. We obtained the operating costs of the most utilized patient assistance program. Results: Patients who utilized patient assistance programs were significantly more likely to be English speaking (p=0.04) and have 1.5 years more advanced schooling than non-utilizers (p=0.008). At the cost of 73 dollars per hour encounters, patients reported benefiting the most from information resources (71% of patients) followed by emotional support (52% of patients); 5% of patients reported getting help with insurance, 5% with financial assistance, 4% with help obtaining medication, 2% with transportation. Conclusion: Existing comprehensive patient assistance programs offer informational, psychological and financial support at low cost. Patients who currently use these programs are English speakers with more education.
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