The Financial Toxicity & Burden of Cancer Treatment - The Pink Fund

The Financial Toxicity of Cancer Treatment

What is financial toxicity?

Financial toxicity is the emotional, mental and physically debilitating — and often life-threatening — financial side effects and burdens induced by cancer treatment.

What impact does the financial toxicity of cancer treatment have?

Financial toxicity can lead to:

  • Greater risk of mortality
  • Impaired quality of life
  • Overall poorer well-being
  • Sub-par quality of care

Evidence suggests that a considerably large proportion of cancer patients are impacted by treatment-related financial harm.

– S. Yousuf Zafar, MD, Journal of National Cancer Institute, Volume 108, Issue 5

What are the effects of financial toxicity on those in active cancer treatment?

  • 130% increase in financial difficulties for those younger than 65
  • 67% increase in financial difficulties for those without insurance
  • 42% increase in financial difficulties for minorities
  • 37% of individuals make at least one work/career modification due to a cancer diagnosis
  • 27% of individuals report at least one financial hardship, including bankruptcy, debt, etc.


Sources: Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 2014 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium, Oncology Journal, Feb. 2013


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