A recent study published in the journal Cancer found health care providers are failing to address the “financial devastation” that often comes with cancer care, according to a Reuters report.
“We are seeing in our survey data, especially among vulnerable populations such as ethnic and racial minorities, non-trivial rates of terrible privation, including losing a home or having the utilities turned off,” Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine Director Reshma Jagsi told Reuters. “We as physicians are ethically obligated to help.”
Researchers surveyed 2,502 patients suffering from early-stage breast cancer, as well as the 370 surgeons, 306 medical oncologies and 169 radiation oncologists treating them.
According to the report, a little more than half of the surveyed medical oncologists said someone on their staff either often or always discussed with patients the costs associated with cancer care. About 43 percent of radiation oncologists and 15.6 percent of surgeons said the same.
Only 40 percent of medical oncologists, 34.3 percent of radiation oncologists and 27.3 percent of surgeons said they were either “quite” or “very aware” of the related out-of-pocket costs.
The lack of awareness is “striking,” Jagsi told Reuters.
“But I think for many surgeons there may be an assumption that because of the seriousness of the illness, off course, costs should be covered by some form of insurance,” she said.
To read the full report on Reuters, click here.