Financial Toxicity in Advanced and Metastatic Cancer: Overburdened and Underprepared

Rotter, J., Spencer, J. C., Wheeler, S. B.

Patients with metastatic or advanced cancer are likely to be particularly susceptible to financial hardship for reasons related both to the characteristics of metastatic disease and to the characteristics of the population living with metastatic disease. First, metastatic cancer is a resource-intensive condition with expensive treatment and consistent, high-intensity monitoring. Second, patients diagnosed with metastatic disease are disproportionately uninsured and low income and from racial or ethnic minority groups. These vulnerable subpopulations have higher cancer related financial burden even in earlier stages of illness, potentially resulting from fewer asset reserves, nonexisting or less generous health insurance benefits, and employment in jobs with less flexibility and fewer employment protections. This combination of high financial need and high financial vulnerability makes those with advanced cancer an important population for additional study. In this article, we summarize why financial toxicity is burdensome for patients with advanced disease; review prior work in the metastatic or advanced settings specifically; and close with implications and recommendations for research, practice, and policy.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2019
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