We’ve all likely felt the scourge of financial stress. Money worries can impact our mental and emotional health and, according to new research, can also affect our physical health.
What the research says
Researchers in Italy found a direct link between financial burden and worsening physical health among cancer patients. The National Cancer Institute surveyed more than 3,500 patients suffering from lung, breast or ovarian cancer on an array of issues, including financial struggles relating to their disease.
More than a quarter of the patients reported a financial burden, and they were about 30-percent more likely than those without financial stress to have a poor quality of life. When a patient’s financial situation worsened on follow-up surveys — a trend researchers termed “financial toxicity” and which occurred in nearly a quarter of participants — patients faced a 20-percent-greater risk of death.
Though the study was limited to Italy, researchers said the results mirror similar data from the United Stats and other countries.
Among the big takeaways from the study was the importance of the development of financial resources for cancer patients.
Creating financial resources for cancer patients
There are many reasons financial struggles can impact a patient’s health. Stress has been proven to negatively impact health, so worrying about making ends meet with medical bills can itself cause a patient to go downhill. Patients who lack financial resources may also not be connected to the best possible care or could face difficulty keeping up with treatments or medications because of cost, which too can be a detriment.
Dr. Francesco Perrone said that, apart from monitoring their patients’ physical health, physicians should also be attuned to quality-of-life issues, like financial struggles.
“Based on common sense, we oncologists should pay attention to the social status and economic possibilities of our patients and try to advise them regarding their rights in terms of public support and respect due to their condition,” Perrone said.
Life Credit understands the need for financial resources for cancer patients after a diagnosis. Our Living Benefit Loans allow patients to collect up to half of their life insurance’s policy death benefit, which can be used to ease the financial burden of cancer.
Cancer can be costly, but the right resources can help patients reduce the effect on their financial — and in turn, physical — health.