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Commentary

It Is Time to Ask About Financial Toxicity

Kristen L. Fessele
CJON 2019, 23(5), 3-4 DOI: 10.1188/19.CJON.S2.3-4

Increasing attention in the oncology community has turned to the problem of financial toxicity, a term coined to reflect the significant negative impact that high medical costs combined with income interruption during treatment may cause. Numerous studies have described how widespread the problem is, affecting as many as 73% of patients with cancer, and its association with negative outcomes, such as decreased health-related quality of life, unplanned and unwanted lifestyle changes because of lack of funds, and intentional nonadherence to planned therapy in an attempt to decrease out-of-pocket costs. Several articles describe brief screening tools, such as the Distress Thermometer, and psychometrically tested assessment instruments, like the Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity, that are potentially suitable to incorporate into routine clinical practice. However, there are very few tested interventions for financial toxicity, despite the recognized need for evidence-based practice in this area.

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