Breast Cancer Survivors Weigh in on Ways to Reduce the Financial Burden of the Disease

Breast Cancer Survivors Weigh in on Ways to Reduce the Financial Burden of the Disease
A qualitative study has proposed nine recommendations from breast cancer survivors about how to reduce the financial burden associated with the disease, which include changes to insurance, supportive services, financial assistance, and protective policies. The findings of the study, "Patient recommendations for reducing long‐lasting economic burden after breast cancer," were published in the journal Cancer. In the U.S., breast cancer patients experience a considerable financial burden, even compared with patients with other types of cancer. These economic burdens are higher for breast cancer survivors experiencing treatment side effects such as lymphedema (swelling caused by fluid accumulation), which is the most common side effect of breast cancer treatment. Lymphedema is estimated to affect up to 35% of breast cancer patients in the U.S., and results in an estimated $14,877 in out-of-pocket costs during the first two years after its diagnosis. "Cancer survivors with public insurance experience even greater economic burden than those with private insurance, which is exacerbated for those who have lymphedema, because many public insurance plans do not cover compression bandages or garments for self‐management of lymphedema," the investigators wrote. Although previous studies proposed strategies to reduce the financial burden linked to breast cancer, recommendations came from healthcare providers or financial advisers, and not from patients. In this study, a group of researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Schoo
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