The cost of cancer care and anticancer drugs is well-documented, but less is known about costs for treating the most common cancer-related side effects. A recent study looked at the financial burden associated with treating side effects – often an unexpected and unplanned cost for cancer patients.
Side effects of cancer treatment can include nausea, pain, appetite disruption, vomiting and constipation. There are several concerns about the drugs used to treat these symptoms. Many are new, expensive and have no generic counterpart. Some are not covered by insurance. Sometimes, these drugs are prescribed when other less expensive alternatives might be used instead.
Timing matters. Symptom control is often an urgent situation. For example, when a patient is vomiting, there may not be time for a provider or patient to examine lower-cost options. Another concern is that some drugs lack significant research to support their effectiveness.
The cost of drugs used to treat cancer symptoms can vary widely and be exceptionally expensive, especially when a patient needs a drug over an extended period of time or needs more than one drug.
Read more about the hidden cost of cancer in FORCE’s XRAY review.