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Financial side-effects of treatment can be devastating in our ‘free’ health-care system

Financial toxicity refers to the hardship experienced by patients due to medical treatment costs. In Canada, a third of cancer patients suffer from this side-effect of their treatment, which also affects caregivers. The World Bank estimates up to 23% of people in countries like Canada face catastrophic expenses due to surgical care, with instances of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events contributing to earning declines. Costs also burden food-allergic families, who may face up to $7,000 in out-of-pocket expenses at outpatient clinics for unprescribed treatments.

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