There is a lack of consistency regarding what constitutes as financial toxicity and how to measure it in patients who have cancer. At this year’s ESMO, we met up with Dr Eva Winkler to learn more about this under-researched topic. As patients with cancer live longer, their financial burden increases. Dr Winkler and her team aimed to measure subjective financial hardship; however, there was no standard form of measurement in place, therefore, they created a questionnaire asking cancer patients about their financial experience. Over 80% of patients reported financial loss due to out-of-pocket payments, and over 37% of patients reported cancer-related loss of income. The latter of these was more serious, with patients reporting monthly income losses of over €800. This financial toxicity can have a negative effect on quality of life. With future research in mind, Dr Winkler is looking at how these results can be extrapolated to other cancer centres in Germany and Europe. She also highlighted how important it is for oncologists to counsel patients in terms of financial toxicity as well as going through the patient’s care plan. Looking to the future, Dr Winkler would like to see a standardised method of measurement for financial toxicity and drastic fundamental changes in the current paradigm of sick pay in chronic diseases.
1. What was the background and rationale behind the study investigating financial toxicity in German patients with cancer (0:11)
2. What were the key findings from the study? (1:20)
3. What impact will these findings have on patient outcomes in the future? (3:38)
4. What are the next steps in this area of research over the coming years? (4:52)
Speaker disclosures: Eva C Winkler has nothing to disclose in relation to this interview.
Filmed at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 Congress, Munich, Germany, 19–23 October 2018.