NPR

Widowed Early, A Cancer Doctor Writes About The Harm Of Medical Debt

A decade after the death of her husband, Fumiko Chino is studying the strain that uncovered medical costs put on cancer patients, even those who have insurance.
Andrew Ladd and Fumiko Chino at their wedding in 2006, after his cancer diagnosis. Ladd died the following year, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt. Source: Courtesy of Dr. Fumiko Chino

Ten years ago, Fumiko Chino was the art director at a television production company in Houston, engaged to be married to a young Ph.D. candidate.

Today, she's a radiation oncologist at Duke University, studying the effects of financial strain on cancer patients. And she's a widow.

How she got from there to here is a story about how health care and money are intertwined in ways that doctors and patients don't like to talk about.

But Chino is determined to do so.

"I think of him. "It drives me to do the type of research that I do — that's looking at the financial toxicity of cancer care."

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