Financial ‘toxicity’ among patients with breast cancer now measured

The much higher rates of financial toxicity among breast cancer patients may be due to earlier data suggesting that the lifetime direct medical expenditures for treating breast cancer in the U.S. can approach $100,000 per patient. More subsequent studies revealed that the whole cost might exceed $200,000 for younger and middle-aged women with metastatic breast cancer. According to a 2022 Forbes article, the entire price of one woman’s breast cancer treatment was a staggering $334,000.

“The cost of breast cancer is multi-layered,” said Anna Crollman, 35, whose breast cancer has been in remission for eight years. “Not only do you have the out-of-pocket deductibles, medical care, and medical bills but you are also covering the cost of gas, medicine, side effect treatments, and the loss of work and pay due to treatment and sickness.”]

Stressed out

The costs of cancer were the subject of a 2020 poll of women in their mid-forties, which revealed that 60% of participants felt stressed out by the thought of covering both direct and indirect expenses. To cover the direct or indirect costs of cancer, around one in 10 women said they had to borrow money.

In the new paper, findings from 34 studies on financial toxicity published between 2008 and 2021 were analyzed. Of these, 24 were conducted in high-income nations like the United States, Canada, South Korea, and Denmark, while 10 studies were conducted in low- and middle-income nations like China, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran, and multiple Southeast Asian nations.

The various research used different financial toxicity metrics. Some people utilized numerical thresholds, such as out-of-pocket expenses exceeding 30% of yearly household income or medical expenditures exceeding 40% of the household’s financial capability.

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