Financial Toxicity and Cost-Related Non-Adherence in Patients with Chronic Blood Cancers.
Taylor, Lauren Alexis
A growing body of evidence has coined a new term in oncology research and practice – “Financial Toxicity” – in relation to the high out-of-pocket costs and cost-sharing insinuated on cancer patients. More research is needed to elucidate what factors are associated with financial toxicity, the relationship between oral anticancer drugs and financial burden, and how quality of life is related to financial burden. A cross-sectional, one-time survey for patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and Multiple Myeloma (MM) through “Patient Power”, an online community of blood cancer patients, was administered to address predictive factors of financial burden among this patient population and the associations between financial toxicity health-related quality of life. Patients with CLL or MM report a significant level of cancer-related financial burdens. Patients who take anticancer drugs as part of treatment experience significantly more financial burdens as those who do not take anticancer drugs. This suggests that the expensive price tag of recently innovated oral anticancer drugs is associated with financial toxicity. Lastly, patients who report higher financial burden had significantly lower mental and physical health quality of life scores. Thus, policymakers, drug manufacturers, and physicians must address the growing body of evidence that cancer patients cannot afford life-saving treatments. Additional interventions to alleviate cancer-related financial burdens are needed.