Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Financial Toxicity
in Cancer Survivors
Background: In the context of COVID-19, cancer survivors represent a particularly vulnerable population that may be “doubly hit” both by costs of cancer treatment and financial strain imposed by the pandemic.
Methods: We performed a review of the literature pertaining to cancer, financial toxicity, and economic challenges.
Results: Multiple societies have put forth recommendations to modify delivery of cancer care in order to minimize patient exposure to the virus. Cancer survivors, especially patients with head and neck cancer, have been disproportionately affected by rising unemployment levels and economic recessions in the past, both of which are linked to higher cancer mortality. Patients who rely on employer-provided insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid may lose access to life-saving treatments.
Conclusions: It is essential to implement interventions and policy changes in order to mitigate the effects of this pandemic but also to ensure this becomes a non-issue during the next one.