BACKGROUND: Gliomas are associated with significant healthcare burden, yet reports of costs are scarce. While many costs are unavoidable there may be treatable symptoms contributing to higher costs. We describe healthcare and societal costs in glioma patients at high risk for depression and their family caregivers, and explore relationships between costs and treatable symptoms.
METHODS: Data from a multicenter randomized trial on effects of internet-based therapy for depressive symptoms were used (NTR3223). Costs of self-reported healthcare utilization, medication use, and productivity loss were calculated for patients and caregivers separately. We used generalized linear regression models to predict costs with depressive symptoms, fatigue, cognitive complaints, tumor grade (low-/high-grade), disease status (stable or active/progression), and intervention (use/non-use) as predictors.
RESULTS: Multiple assessments from baseline through 12 months from 91 glioma patients and 46 caregivers were used. Mean overall costs per year were M = €20,587.53 (sd = €30,910.53) for patients and M = €5,581.49 (sd = €13,102.82) for caregivers. In patients, higher healthcare utilization costs were associated with more depressive symptoms; higher medication costs were associated with active/progressive disease. In caregivers, higher overall costs were linked with increased caregiver fatigue, cognitive complaints, and lower patient tumor grade. Higher healthcare utilization costs were related to more cognitive complaints and lower tumor grade. More productivity loss costs were associated with increased fatigue (all P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: There are substantial healthcare and societal costs for glioma patients and caregivers. Associations between costs and treatable psychological symptoms indicate that possibly, adequate support could decrease costs.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Register NTR3223.