Unequal distribution of financial toxicity among people with cancer and its impact on access to care Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose of review

    Research demonstrates that patients and their families often carry a good portion of the economic burden during and following cancer treatment, frequently resulting in implications for access to care. This rapid review summarizes how this knowledge has evolved in recent years.

    Recent findings

    The number of articles on patient financial burden is increasing, suggesting awareness about the growing impact of economic burden on patients. This is particularly evident when discussing out-of-pocket costs, and lost work for patients/caregivers. However, there is an increasing focus on 'foregone care' and 'financial distress'. Additionally, emerging literature is examining policies and approaches to screen and/or mitigate these patient financial risks, thereby improving access to care. There is also increasing focus on populations that shoulder a disproportionate financial burden, including ethnic minorities (blacks, Asians, Latinos) as well as those with lower socioeconomic status. Additionally, there is evidence that this burden also affects the middle class.


    As healthcare budgets become stretched, especially during a pandemic, supportive programs benefiting the less fortunate often shrink, which impacts access to care. The emerging research on strategies with government or institutions to mitigate these burdens and access issues are both welcome and needed.

publication date

  • July 6, 2021