One Less Worry
A breast cancer diagnosis is one with compacted burdens. Its effects are mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial — all of which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus.
World Mental Health Day, in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, creates space for an important conversation about financial toxicity and its multifaceted implications on mental wellbeing.
Financial toxicity is the emotional, mental, and physically debilitating — and often life-threatening — financial side effects and burdens induced by cancer treatment. Patients experiencing financial toxicity may experience debt and bankruptcy, lower quality of life, and lower quality treatment.
S. Yousuf Zafar and Amy P. Abernethy report that in order to defray cancer-related out-of-pocket costs, patients are altering their lives and their care: they are nonadherent with their medications; they are opting out of expensive treatment; they are spending less on basics like food, and they are spending down their retirement savings.
According to Bridgette Thom and Catherine Benedict, worse financial toxicity was associated with lower insurance satisfaction, higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms, greater worry, and lower self-efficacy in coping with cancer; coping, and stress management, and managing negative effects. There was also a connection found between financial toxicity related to skipping or delaying treatment and greater anxiety and depression symptomatology.
It’s clear that stress (and financial-related stress) has an impact on a patient’s overall wellbeing and prognosis. The Pink Fund’s aim is to provide real help now, which also gives our grant recipients one less worry, with the goal of improving survivorship outcomes.
Our 90-day grant program allows us to meet their critical expenses for housing, transportation, utilities, and insurance. By providing this direct financial support, we assist in alleviating stress and allowing patients to redirect the energy spent worrying about treatment costs; to coping, healing, and caring for themselves.
If you or someone you know is experiencing financial toxicity as a direct result of cancer treatment, see if you qualify for assistance here.
If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, click here for resources.