Dr Todd Yezefski Discusses the Financial Hardships of Cancer Treatment
A clear majority of patients with cancer experience some sort of financial hardship, and the cost of care is something that weighs on the minds of patients and their families right from the moment of diagnosis, said Todd Yezefski, MD, senior fellow in the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Washington.
Transcript At what point after a cancer diagnosis do patients and families start to think about the financial costs?
I think really from that initial diagnosis, patients are thinking about the cost of their care. It’s something that’s weighing on their minds. From the first appointment, they’re getting bills from the hospital, the doctors, they need to pay copays and coinsurance. I think that the financial assistance and financial navigation should start right from the beginning because that’s when patients start to notice the costs and it only keeps growing from there.
How does experiencing financial hardships impact the outcomes of a patient’s care?
Studies have shown that up to 75% of patients experience some sort of financial hardship as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Patients often times have to stop working if they are already working, spouses and partners sometimes need to stop work. Patients who have a diagnosis of cancer have a higher rate of bankruptcy than people who don’t. So, the financial hardships are real and people experience them and they can be really distressing and troubling.