Breast Cancer Shouldn’t Come with Debt Collectors

The financial challenges that follow a breast cancer diagnosis can weigh heavily on a patient (and their family). Research confirms – that even more so than other cancers – breast cancer comes with considerable economic burden. These financial costs include the patient’s out-of-pocket portion for initial treatment, as well as management of treatment side effects. Considering that there are 250,000 new breast cancer diagnoses each year in the United States, this can be a widespread problem.

As just one example: the treatment side effect of lymphedema develops in more than one in every three breast cancer survivors, resulting in $14,877 of out-of-pocket costs in just the first two years of treating this side effect. For too many patients, these treatment-related costs can mean discontinuing treatment or bankruptcy.

Up to half of patients with metastatic breast cancer end up being sent to debt collection related to cancer treatment bills, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. This is a shockingly high level of debt and, naturally, an additional stressor at what is already a very difficult time in patients’ lives.

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy understands the challenges of financial toxicity. This is why our financial assistance team assists and supports patients with ways to connect with financial resources, such as foundation grants and co-pay assistance programs. In just the first quarter of this year our team has connected patients with $20 million in financial assistance. This represents more than financial assistance, it can be the opportunity for patients with financial barriers to start and continue their potentially life-saving treatment.

BioPlus: where we heal wallets and patients.

Sources

Dean LT, Moss SL, Rollinson SI, et al. Patient recommendations for reducing long-lasting economic burden after breast cancer. Cancer March 6, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32012

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Care Symposium (QCS). Abstract 32, presented September 29, 2018.

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