Exploring the role of general practitioners in addressing financial toxicity in cancer patients

A cancer diagnosis, subsequent treatment, and follow-up care beyond come with a significant financial burden. Financial toxicity (FT) is a term used to describe the financial distress or hardship incurred as an outcome of cancer treatment, and can have a detrimental effect on patient quality of life (QOL). General practice plays a significant role in the support of a person with cancer and may have an important role in the management of FT. This qualitative study supported by PC4’s 2019 Training Award scheme aimed to understand perspectives of general practitioners (GPs) on addressing FT in the primary care setting. Twenty GPs participated in semi-structured in-depth telephone interviews. Results suggested that GPs identified their role does position them well to provide some FT support, but that there are limitations. Perceptions and philosophies about cancer management were drivers of referrals and financial conversations. Priorities for care of FT by GPs included improved cost information provision and accessible support. Overall the findings of this study indicate that GPs can play an important role in helping to address FT associated with cancer and its treatments if supported with the right information.

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