Living with cancer blog

Tips for cancer survivors dealing with financial burden

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. July 2, 2011

The financial burden for cancer survivors is significant. In a recent study, more than 30 percent of people living with cancer said they had practical concerns regarding financial issues. On top of monthly or yearly insurance premiums, extra costs such as co-pays, medication (chemotherapy or treatment) expenses, travel costs and lost wages are all part of the equation as you deal with a cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.

Some practical ideas that may help as you navigate your way through these issues include:

  • Talk with your health care team on an ongoing basis about treatment costs. If they recommend a new medication or prescription — ask about your out-of-pocket costs. Many times, your cancer treatment center's business office and pharmacy can give you an estimate of costs before hand.
  • Meet with a social worker to review potential financial resources available to you. This might include charity care, prescription assistance programs, gas cards, low cost (or no cost lodging) and other resources.
  • Call the American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345) to connect with resources that are available to you as a cancer survivor.
  • If you are unable to work because of your cancer diagnosis; talk with your employer to plan for medical leave, or call the Social Security office (1-800-772-1213) to discuss your options for disability benefits.

Feel free to share ideas, pearls of wisdom and any resources that you have found helpful.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

July 02, 2011