Financial burden experienced by patients undergoing treatment for malignant gliomas

Priya Kumthekar, Becky V. Stell, Daniel I. Jacobs, Irene B. Helenowski, Alfred W. Rademaker, Sean A. Grimm, Charles L. Bennett, Jeffrey J. Raizer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background. Patients undergoing treatment for malignant gliomas (MGs) can encounter medical costs beyond what their insurance covers. The magnitude and type of costs experienced by patients are unknown. The purpose of this study was to have patients or their families report on the medical costs incurred during the patients MG treatment. Methods. Patients with MG were eligible if they were within 6 months of diagnosis or tumor recurrence. Patients had to be ≥18 years of age, fluent in English, and not aphasic. Weekly logbooks were issued to patients for recording associated costs for ~6 months or until tumor progression. "Out-of-pocket" (OOP) costs included medical and nonmedical expenses that were not reimbursed by insurance. Direct medical costs included hospital and physician bills. Direct nonmedical costs included transportation, parking, and other related items. Indirect medical costs included lost wages. Costs were analyzed to provide mean and medians with range of expenses. Results. Forty-three patients provided cost data for a median of 12 weeks. There were 25 men and 18 women with a median age of 57 years (range, 24y-73y); 79% were married, and 49% reported annual income >$75 000. Health insurance coverage was preferred provider organizations for 58% of patients, and median deductible was $1 500. Median monthly OOP cost was $1 342 (mean, $2 451; range, $333.41-$17 267.16). The highest OOP median costs were medication copayments ($710; range, $0-13 611.20), transportation ($327; range, $0-$1 927), and hospital bill copayments ($403; range, $0-$4 000). Median lost wages were $7 500, and median lost days of work were 12.8. Conclusions. OOP costs for MG patients can be significant and comprise direct and indirect costs across several areas. Informing patients about expected costs could limit additional duress and allow financial support systems to be implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalNeuro-Oncology Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014


  • Financial burden
  • Glioma
  • Medical costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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