I really like this new term “financial toxicity”. Novel therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors, targeted therapies, and combinations of these along with other treatments are dramatically changing (and in some cases…saving) the lives of so many individuals with cancer. However for some, the financial impact just as distressing as the illness itself.
It saddens me to hear stories of patients having to “cash out” money put away for retirement or dip into their savings. So many patients are “not compliant” with oral medications including anti-cancer meds because they can not afford the copays. Some days, the nurses in our practice can spend hours trying to procure financial assistance or advocate on behalf of patients with insurance companies.
Perhaps “Financial Toxicity” should be assessed for every patient receiving cancer therapy! Maybe it should be the “sixth vital sign”.
This is an excellent point. It is difficult to watch patients and families struggle with the financial concerns of cancer therapy when they have such a bigger battle to wage against their disease. I have had good experiences with the drug companies’ financial assistance programs, but the process takes time and resources to make it happen.