Financial toxicity in cancer care: origins, impact, and solutions

This article was originally published here

Transl Behav Med. 2021 Nov 30;11(11):2043-2054. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibab091.


Financial toxicity describes the financial burden and distress that can arise for patients, and their family members, as a result of cancer treatment. It includes direct out-of-pocket costs for treatment and indirect costs such as travel, time, and changes to employment that can increase the burden of cancer. While high costs of cancer care have threatened the sustainability of access to care for decades, it is only in the past 10 years that the term “financial toxicity” has been popularized to recognize that the financial burdens of care can be just as important as the physical toxicities traditionally associated with cancer therapy. The past decade has seen a rapid growth in research identifying the prevalence and impact of financial toxicity. Research is now beginning to focus on innovations in screening and care delivery that can mitigate this risk. There is a need to determine the optimal strategy for clinicians and cancer centers to address costs of care in order to minimize financial toxicity, promote access to high value care, and reduce health disparities. We review the evolution of concerns over costs of cancer care, the impact of financial burdens on patients, methods to screen for financial toxicity, proposed solutions, and priorities for future research to identify and address costs that threaten the health and quality of life for many patients with cancer.

PMID:34850932 | DOI:10.1093/tbm/ibab091