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Financial Worries Add to Cancer Patients' Burden
Date:6/6/2012

"They do face several challenges. And as this article shows, there is a substantial number of patients who feel that there is anxiety and depression and lower quality of life associated with worries about financial stability."

Adams said that, even for people with insurance, costs can quickly escalate. These include medication co-pays, transportation costs, time missed from work, child-care issues and the cost of in-home medical devices.

However, both Hlubocky and Adams stressed that, as challenging as things can be for cancer patents, help and resources are out there. First and foremost, they said, is to make sure you have a social worker on your cancer-care team who can point you in the right direction for help.

"There's lots of different foundations and coalitions out there that are willing to help," Hlubocky said. "Certain hospitals, you can just go and talk to the social worker and try and find out what's the best way to help cover some of the financial problems. Many patients don't know. A social worker is an absolutely wonderful person to have on your team."

Adams agreed. "It is very important that the treating team has a multidisciplinary aspect, and that it involves psychological support as well," she said, since the stress of dealing with cancer and its treatment can be overwhelming.

Findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

There are resources for cancer patients and their caregivers at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

SOURCES: Fay Hlubocky, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and ethicist, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago; Sylvia Adams, M.D., ASCO spokeswoman and assistant professor, department of medicine, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; June 4, 2012, presentation,
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