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Financial Toxicity: Management as an Adverse Effect of Cancer Treatment

Kristen L. Fessele
CJON 2017, 21(6), 762-764 DOI: 10.1188/17.CJON.762-764

Along with many physical and emotional adverse effects associated with cancer therapy, attention has been directed to defining and identifying interventions to manage financial strain that can occur because of high medical payments and reduced income from employment interruption. Nurses can support patients and families by encouraging open communication during shared treatment decision making and throughout the cancer experience.


  • Evidence indicates that even well-insured patients with a stable household income may experience decreases in well-being, health-related quality of life, and overall survival because of financial strain.
  • Older adult patients who are covered by Medicare may be at elevated risk for experiencing financial toxicity because of the 20% copay on expensive drugs, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors.
  • Nurses can support patients by assessing for financial concerns early in the treatment decision-making process, and by providing referrals to assistance programs and other support systems.

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