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A recent study reported that cancer patients suffer a significantly higher financial burden than those without cancer. For many battling cancers, the financial burden can be enormously stressful, and even result in patients forgoing treatment.
“Financial Toxicity” refers to the fiscal issues patients face due to treatment. While your particular situation may determine the level of toxicity you face, studies show that cancer patients face a higher level than those without cancer. Copays, deductibles, and coinsurance frequently lead to an enormous financial burden on patients. Patients generally experience a greater inability to work or more missed work days than those without cancer. Financial distress of some kind was reported by 47% to 49% of cancer patients.
This burden can affect treatment, as up to 45% of patients reported not adhering to treatment due to the financial burden. A cohort study including nearly 10 million cancer diagnoses in patients over 50 showed over 42% had used all their financial assets within 2 years.
Cancer treatment is a big industry. The pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much money on advertising as it does on research and development. According to the World Health Organization:
There is an inherent conflict of interest between the legitimate business goals of manufacturers and the social, medical and economic needs of providers and the public to select and use drugs in the most rational way.
Make sure you have the information you need. When choosing care and treatment, remember that you DO have a choice.