QIMR Berghofer

Financial toxicity - what it is and how to measure it


The term 'financial toxicity' is broadly used to describe the distress or hardship arising from the financial burden of cancer treatment. In much the same way as physical side-effects of treatment like fatigue, nausea or blood toxicities, financial problems after cancer diagnosis are a major contributor to poorer quality of life, treatment non-adherence and delayed medical care. This article describes what financial toxicity is, how it is measured, how common it is and what the implications are for further research and clinical practice. A recent review shows a wide range of measures used to describe the financial burden of cancer. Using monetary measures, the magnitude of financial stress was between 28-48% in cancer populations. Possible solutions to reduce the family financial burden include mandating full disclosure of doctors' fees and charges related to treatment and strategies to empower patients to improve their treatment decision making. Furthermore, screening tools such as the COST-FACIT 11-item survey may assist health professionals to identify those patients at high risk of financial stress and refer them to support services. Minimising financial stress is important for patients and measuring financial toxicity helps to expose flaws in health systems and subsequently ensure that citizens receive quality cancer care.

Authors Gordon, Louisa G.; Merollini, Katharina M. D.; Lowe, Anthony; Chan, Raymond J.
Journal Cancer Forum
Pages 30-35
Volume 41
Date 1/07/2017
Grant ID
Funding Body