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.