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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Financial Toxicity - Let’s Detox

By Contributing Editor, Madhumitha Sabhanayagam

“Attention to health is life's greatest hindrance." Plato

“Money can't buy happiness.” “Money will not guarantee you health.” We have all heard these quotes and even we are guilty of speaking so. Yeah, these are true quotes, but having money and not having to worry about how “am I going to afford my next cancer-preventing/remediation treatment definitely would help me smile a little bigger, and sleep easier at night.

We all know how expensive cancer can be to deal with. What we fail to realize and ignore at our peril is the adversarial effect of the financial burden inflicted on cancer patients on top of all the other burdens they carry.

The negative effects of expensive treatment have warranted the coining of a new buzz word; financial toxicity. Financial toxicity is the emotional, mental, physical, life-threatening financial stress caused by cancer treatment costs. Dr. Ryan Nipp (catch our podcast with him coming out on Monday.)

Financial toxicity can linger for years, and represents a most vicious cycle. For example: To make appointments, we may be required to miss work, we may have to pay for daycare for the children to be watched while you are at radiation sessions, or you may have to cover travel costs.  In some cases, your cancer could render you unable to work. Then you have to eat healthily. And we all know how expensive eating healthy can be. (How is a salad, $7.00 and a cheeseburger $1.99?).  This occurs during the treatment phase and then there is post-treatment care. You still have to get yearly check-ups.  You still have to keep up with post-cancer medications.  And you still are eating healthy. The job you were once capable of performing or holding before,  may not be yours, or you may not be capable of performing.

Financial stress can also take a toll on families.  It can strain relationships and cause changes in family dynamics. All of this can be hard to navigate and untangle on your own. There are many marginalized communities that do not have the access to gain knowledge about financial toxicity Who inevitably get swamped with bills at the end and are left with crippling debt. Dr. Nipp, advocates for talking to your treatment team about finances even if you feel like you are not experiencing financial toxicity. To some it is a prestige issue, to some, it is a lack of knowledge and to some, they don't know what their finances are because they are not the breadwinner of the family.

Talking to your treatment counselor could help you figure out alternatives to help reduce the toll on your finances. For example, based on your prognosis, you could come in bi-weekly instead of weekly, your doctor could prescribe an alternative medication so that your insurance can cover it. These are some of the areas we could start with. A lot of the time, opening the topic up with your counselor may help them ask the right question to drive towards a proper, economic solution to the problem.Financial toxicity is still fresh on the scene today. It is a topic gaining more momentum and thus more research is being done to study the phenomenon and how to best assist patients to combat it. A Cancer prognosis is no easy thing to deal with, but the best way to make sure you stay ahead of your finances is to be honest with yourself and your team. They are there to help.


Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 


Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


The Caregiver Huddle

Third Tuesday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET


Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET


Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month



July 19,  10:00 a.m. ET


Restorative Yoga:

Unearthing Opportunities

July 15 ,  5:30 p.m. ET


Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

July 22,  6:00 p.m. ET


Art Therapy

August 5, 6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

August 13, 11:30 a.m. ET


Forest Bathing

August 13,  6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

August 20,  6:00 p.m. ET


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Upcoming Events


Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 


Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 


The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 


Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 


Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 


Después de un Diagnóstico

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