Age-related differences in employment, insurance, and financial hardship among colorectal cancer patients: a report from the ColoCare Study

Karely M.van Thiel Berghuijs, Heydon K. Kaddas, Gillian Trujillo, Gazelle Rouhani, Amy Chevrier, Jennifer Ose, David Shibata, Adetunji T. Toriola, Jane C. Figueiredo, Anita R. Peoples, Christopher I. Li, Sheetal Hardikar, Erin M. Siegel, Biljana Gigic, Martin Schneider, Cornelia M. Ulrich, Anne C. Kirchhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Employmentand financial hardships are common issues for working-age colorectal cancer patients. We surveyed colorectal cancer survivors to investigate employment, insurance, and financial outcomes by age at diagnosis. Methods: Cross-sectional survey of six ColoCare Study sites regarding employment, insurance, and financial hardship outcomes. Eligible participants were 1 to 5 years from colorectal cancer diagnosis. Diagnosis age (18–49, 50–64, 65+ years) with outcomes of interest were compared using chi-square and t-tests. Multivariable logistic and Poisson regressions were fit to examine association of demographic factors with any material/psychological hardship (yes/no) and the count of hardships. Results: N = 202 participants completed the survey (age: 18–49 (n = 42, 20.8%), 50–64 (n = 79, 39.1%), 65+ (n = 81, 40.1%)). Most diagnosed age < 65 worked at diagnosis (18–49: 83%; 50–64: 64%; 65+ : 14%, p < 0.001) and continued working after diagnosis (18–49: 76%; 50–64: 59%; 65+ : 13%; p < 0.001). Participants age 18–49 reported cancer-related difficulties with mental (81.3%) and physical (89%) tasks at work more than those working in the older age groups (45%-61%). In regression models, among those reporting any hardship, the rates of material and psychological hardships were higher among those age 18–64 (Incidence Rate Ratios (IRR) range 1.5–2.3 vs. age 65+) and for those with < college (IRR range 1.3–1.6 vs. college +). Conclusions: Younger colorectal cancer patients are more likely to work after a cancer diagnosis and during cancer treatment, but report higher levels of financial hardship than older patients. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Younger colorectal cancer patients may encounter financial hardship, thus may feel a need to work during and after treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1084
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Employment
  • Financial hardship
  • Financial toxicity
  • Insurance


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