Dr. Chagpar on Financial Toxicity and Disparities in Breast Cancer

Anees Chagpar, MD, MBA, MPH, FACS, FRCS(C), discusses the unmet needs regarding financial toxicities for patients with breast cancer.

Anees Chagpar, MD, MBA, MPH, FACS, FRCS(C), professor of Surgery (Oncology), a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the unmet needs regarding financial toxicities for patients with breast cancer.

Over the last several years, disparities relating to the financial toxicities associated with treatment for breast cancer have become more apparent, as there are still many people who do not have health insurance, for example, Chagpar notes. Even in patients who do have health insurance, the cost of therapies, ranging from surgical, medical, radiation, and others, is continuing to rise, Chagpar says.

Moreover, these disparities can have a devastating effect on a patient’s health, Chagpar continues. For example, investigators completed a study looking at financial toxicity and found that people will routinely skip doses, take half their medications, delay filling prescriptions, avoid getting radiation, and put off surgery, all due to the repercussions of financial toxicity, Chagpar emphasizes.

Financial brudens associated with precuring cancer treatment is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States, Chagpar says. These financial toxicities are an unmet need and one that must be focused on, specifically in terms of advocacy, Chagpar adds, noting that addressing this toxicity could kickstart innovation, rather than stifle it. Advocation can include pushing pharmaceutical companies to think about how they can reduce the cost of medications and still develop and deliver efficacious treatments. Moreover, advocating for government to implement policies could make it easier for patients to get the care that they need without the financial burden, Chagpar concludes.

Related Videos
Amandeep Godara, MBBS
Eunice Wang, MD
Yvonne Chao, MD, PhD
Ruth M. O’Regan, MD, professor, chair, Charles Ayrault Dewey Professorship of Medicine, Department of Medicine, the University of Rochester, physician-in-chief, Strong Memorial Hospital, associate director, Education and Mentoring, the Wilmot Cancer Institute at University of Rochester,
Timothy Burns, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, associate program director, Research, associate program director, Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Sapna Patel, BA, MD
Brian Henick, MD
R. Lor Randall, MD, FACS
Edward B. Garon, MD, MS, professor of medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, David Geffen School of Medicine, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), UCLA Health
Matthew Brunner, MD, assistant professor, hematologic specialist, medical oncology, and palliative care, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
Related Content