The climbing costs of cancer treatments are causing some people, especially younger folks, to alter their pill regimens to protect their financial health — but they may be doing serious harm to their physical health.
According to a national study, about a third of cancer patients under 65 years old in some way changed their medication because of financial reasons; only about 20 percent of Americans without cancer changed up their meds because of money.
How people adjusted their regimens varied, researchers found. Some cancer patients delayed filling a prescription until they were able to save more. Others cut down on their prescribed amounts to stretch their batch of medicine out longer. Some patients looked for cheaper alternative therapies, avoiding their prescribed pills altogether.
The finding is in line with growing research that excessive cancer-care costs are particularly impactful on younger populations. One study found that nearly half of adult cancer patients reported a “high financial burden” from cancer treatment, and that number increased the younger the patient was.
Stress over cancer-related finances isn’t just an emotional concern; research has pointed to a trend called financial toxicity, in which worries over health-care costs can have a direct impact on a patient’s physical health. The research suggests the need for financial resources for cancer patients to help them focus their efforts on managing their illness, without the distraction of finances. For instance, LifeCredit offers living benefit loans that enable cancer patients to receive up to half of their insurance policy’s death benefit.
Financial resources for cancer patients can be life-saving, which is why it’s important that health-care providers are aware of such services, and effectively inform their patients about the financial landscape they’re facing. After all, the better a patient’s financial health, the better his or her physical health.