Novel diagnostic and therapeutic options offer hope to cancer patients with both localized and advanced disease. However, many of these treatments are often costly and even well-insured patients can face high out-of-pocket costs. Families may also be at risk of financial distress due to lost wages and other treatment-related expenses. Research is needed to measure and characterize financial distress in cancer patients and understand how it affects their quality of life. In addition, health care providers need to be trained to counsel patients and their families so they can make patient-centered treatment decisions that reflect their preferences and values.