Now, a tool to predict financial pain from cancer

New York, Jun 22: Along with distress that comes with cancer diagnosis and the discomfort of treatment, more patients now have to deal with “financial toxicity”, the expense, anxiety and loss of confidence confronting those who face large, unpredictable costs.

Researchers have now developed a tool to measure a patient’s risk for, and ability to tolerate, financial stress that comes with cancer. Named COST (Comprehensive Score for financial Toxicity), the tool comprises 11 questions, assembled and refined from conversations with more than 150 patients with advanced cancer.

“A few physicians discuss this increasingly significant side effect with their patients,” said Jonas de Souza, head-and-neck cancer specialist at University of Chicago Department of Medicine in the US.

“We believe that a thoughtful, concise tool that could help predict a patient’s risk for financial toxicity might open the lines of communication. This gives us a way to launch that discussion,” de Souza added.

Explaining the utility of the tool, he noted, “If patients know what to expect, they may want their physicians to consider less costly medications.”  The findings appeared in the journal Cancer.