The Financial Burden of Breast Cancer Treatment


Breast cancer survivors are often concerned about the financial toll of their diagnosis and treatment, according to a study led by researchers from the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center in Ann Arbor. Results of the study also suggest that many of these patients feel their health care staff doesn’t do enough to assist them with their fiscal concerns.

The Michigan researchers surveyed about 2,500 patients treated for early-stage breast cancer, as well as 845 surgeons and medical and radiation oncologists for the study, which was published in Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society. They learned that, because of their diagnosis and treatment:

  • about 38 percent of study participants were at least somewhat worried about finances
  • 14 percent lost more than 10 percent of their household income
  • 17 percent spent more than 10 percent of their household income for out-of-pocket medical expenses

African-American and Latina women experienced more financial concerns than white women, including new debt, homelessness, turned off utility services for unpaid bills, and having to cut back on food spending.

Of those with financial concerns due to breast cancer treatment, 73 percent reported that their doctors’ offices didn’t help. Among health care providers, 50 percent of medical oncologists, 43 percent of radiation oncologists, and 16 percent of surgeons reported that someone in their practice often or always discusses financial concerns with patients.

Sourced from: Cancer