February 24, 2017 News

WBUR: “Not Just Nausea And Vomiting: Cancer Docs Now Worry About ‘Financial Toxicity'”

February 24, 2017

Richard Knox

Just imagine how it would feel:

Your doctor diagnoses cancer. She says there’s a good chance you can beat it, or keep it under control for a long time. But you can’t afford the thousands of dollars you’d have to pay for treatment that your health insurer won’t cover.

That cruel dilemma is cropping up every day among the 1.5 million Americans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. And it’s getting worse with every new cancer drug that’s approved.

Cancer specialists have a name for it: financial toxicity.

“Just as we monitor the toxicity of drugs — nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and so on — there’s an increasing amount of data showing that patients with cancer suffer financial toxicity,” says Dr. Daniel Goldstein of Emory University’s Winship Cancer Center.

The latest in a growing body of studies came out Monday in the journal CANCER, drawing on national household surveys of nearly 9,000 cancer survivors and 126,000 people with no cancer history. It reveals that nearly one in three non-elderly cancer patients are not taking their prescribed drug regimens because they can’t afford it.


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.