METHODS: We systematically searched Medline, Scopus, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PsycINFO for qualitative research exploring positive changes after cancer published from 1996. From eligible studies, we extracted: terms used for PTG; design, methodological orientation, and techniques, and participant characteristics. Using descriptive mapping, we explored whether study findings fit within Tedeschi and Calhoun's PTG framework, and evidence for unique positive changes post-cancer.
RESULTS: Twenty-eight studies were eligible. Cancer sites included were: breast, 14; mixed, 6; haematological, 4; head and neck cancer, 2; bone, 1, and testis, 1. Multiple studies were conducted in: the USA (12), Australia (3), Iran (2), and the UK (2). Twenty-three studies collected data using individual interviews (21) or focus groups (2). Definitions of PTG varied. Studies largely focused on descriptive accounts of PTG. Findings mapped onto existing PTG dimensions; health behaviour changes were often reported, under 'new possibilities'.
CONCLUSIONS: A range of PTG outcomes can occur after cancer. Positive health behaviour changes warrant further exploration. Future research should include more diverse patient populations, collect longitudinal data, and focus on pathways towards positive changes.
METHODS: We identified articles published Jan 1, 2005, to March 7, 2019, describing financial burden/toxicity experienced by cancer patients and/or informal caregivers using OVID Medline Embase and PsychInfo, CINAHL, Business Source Complete, and EconLit databases. Only English language peer-reviewed full papers describing studies conducted in very high development index countries with predominantly publicly funded healthcare were eligible (excluded the USA). All stages of the review were evaluated in teams of two researchers excepting the final data extraction (CJL only).
RESULTS: The searches identified 7117 unique articles, 32 of which were eligible. Studies were undertaken in Canada, Australia, Ireland, UK, Germany, Denmark, Malaysia, Finland, France, South Korea, and the Netherlands. Eighteen studies reported patient/caregiver out-of-pocket costs (range US$17-US$506/month), 18 studies reported patient/caregiver lost income (range 17.6-67.3%), 14 studies reported patient/caregiver travel and accommodation costs (range US$8-US$393/month), and 6 studies reported financial stress (range 41-48%), strain (range 7-39%), or financial burden/distress/toxicity among patients/caregivers (range 22-27%). The majority of studies focused on patients, with some including caregivers. Financial toxicity was greater in those with early disease and/or more severe cancers.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite government-funded universal public healthcare, financial toxicity is an issue for cancer patients and their families. Although levels of toxicity vary between countries, the findings suggest financial protection appears to be inadequate in many countries.