WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Being unemployed due to a primary central nervous system tumor (PCNST) is associated with higher symptom burden, according to a study published online Feb. 8 in Neurology.

Heather E. Leeper, M.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined the association of unemployment as a major contributor to financial toxicity with patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in a PCNST cohort. Patient and disease characteristics and PROs measuring symptom burden, interference, psychological distress, functional impairment, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) were obtained from 277 participants diagnosed with a PCNST (227 [82 percent] had a tumor involving the brain).

The researchers found that the likelihood of reporting unemployment was significantly greater for Hispanic participants in the overall sample and in the brain tumor group (odds ratios, 2.3 and 3.2, respectively). More functional impairment with walking, washing, dressing, and performing usual activities and reduced HRQoL were reported by the 77 individuals unemployed due to a PCNST. In the overall sample, more unemployed participants reported moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms and moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms than those who were employed (25 versus 8 percent [odds ratio, 3.7] and 30 versus 15 percent [odds ratio, 2.4], respectively). Compared with employed participants, unemployed participants with brain tumors reported three more symptoms as moderate-to-severe, on average.

“Unemployment including a lack of health insurance and reduced earnings can lead to even more physical and psychological problems for people living with these brain and spine cancers,” Leeper said in a statement.

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