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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:
Feel free to share ideas, pearls of wisdom and any resources that you have found helpful.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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and lets not forget that besides the financial loss we have to deal with emotional problems as well. The guilt I feel for being the one to put us in this devastating position can be overwhelming. I think people forget that besides the medical bills we still have all those pesky living expenses and just when you see a glimmer of light...the washer breaks down, you need new tires on the car etc.
i was in the hospital for 1 1/2 months 2nd time for my cancer operation, 2 years apart. financial problems ,oh boy do i have them. it seems i asked all the charities and i can't get help. between medicine and supplies. i just can't seem to make ends meet.. it puts a strain on my family too.my landlord wants his money, but what can i do. i've tried everything i can. but i'm not giving up.
I wanted to thank Sandra for her comments and add the same problem exists for those having problems with late effects from treatment. I am a 17 year "survivor" and was "fortunate" to have insurance that covered enough of my medical costs that it wasn't an overwhelming burden. I'm sorry for those that have that battle to overcome. I struggled for about 7 years working through the fatigue and chemobrain issues I was experiencing since finishing treatment. When full time work became unbearable I tried working for myself and searching for help. Ten years later I still can't work much, no insurance, lost my house and still not able to find any assistances. It's real hard to consider all of this surviving. I hope there are others having better luck.
I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer June 2007. Had a whipple surgery because it was caught early. Because of my age 78 I decided not to have Chemo or radiation. I new I would not be able to live without being very Ill.
Told at Mayo Clinic I would not live more than 6 months. Took my chances and it is now 4 years and not to sick. Tell others they to can survive if they have doubts about the treatments.. Thank you
Give me a break you people, money is a big problem for people with cancer or we wouldn’t be talking about it. The astronomical costs, initially and on-going are enough to wreck your life and your family’s life. Critical illness is a huge financial problem for everyone from the patient, society and government.
If you are really sick you don't have the time, energy or ability to think well enough to do what you need to do to get help.
I've been persistent and I have received a lot of generous help and for that I am grateful. But for the sake of those out there that don't know how or anyone to help them, please don't make it sound like anything is out there for the asking. It is just not that simple.
Having cancer is bad enough, trying to get help shouldn’t be so hard.
It's reading these things that make me so glad that I live in British Columbia, where we have compulsory government health insurance. Our modest monthly premium (around $100 for a senior couple) has covered all treatment for my three (like Marsha) different primary cancers. That's surgery for all three, and radiation and adjuvant hormone therapy - letrozole - for my recent breast cancer. I will never have to pay for the letrozole out of my own pocket, and I expect to be taking it for at least 5 years.
I am amazed at the amount of help there is available for the looking. Like most things in life, it will not readily appear to you - you must do a search and be open to opportunities. As a social worker, I knew a lot of community resources and learned more when diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2009. Two months to live, treatment (chemo and radiaiton) saved my life. Unfortunately, two months into chemo, my work terminated me for being disabled/unable to work for three months. With no insurance, I thought I would lose my life and fight. Instead, I connected with the hospital social worker, the American Red Cross, and did a search on Internet for every wall I was up against. The American Red Cross offers many programs and I took advantage of those that assisted my condition, and kept my ears open to the patients I met along the way. Also, networked with my fellow patients on what they had discovered during my chemo and radiation treatments. I was eligible to receive assistance from the hospital for medical and prescription needs; still 18 months later they cover. I am forever grateful for these opportunities. Now if only I could find an employer willing to take me on as a staff member without the prejudice from lack of work in these past several months. Faith, believe, courage, hope, and peace of mind let me know the day will arrive that my final obstacle - getting back to work for a totally normal life again - will be conquered. Hang in there everyone :>)
I completely agree with the previous post! I've had cancers 2001, 2006, and 2010. I've been to every organization and church I could find. The Salvation Army won't help unless I have cut off notices which puts my rental agreement in jeopardy if I would do that. The local food shelter told me after the first two times with cancer that they are only for "short term" and I used up my help from them. The cancer society let me know that the finances for my kind of cancer had run out so they could not help. Another cancer organization gave me a 1 time help with gas to get to Johns Hopkins for surgery; but let me know they could only help once. I am a single mom without a support system that FALLS BETWEEN THE CRACKS for help and am in financial and emotional devastation.
I never dreamed I would have a third primary cancer. Sure enough, renal cell, an exact duplicate of my mother's cancer which did reappea 3 1/2 yrs. later. Then she died. I have already lost my job because my recovery and complicatins since the surgery in 2009. Needless to say, my finances changed. I have felt like I have been penalized for being sick. Less sick pay and SSD than I made when working. I have found that most hospitals will help you with a payback plan. It is a constant struggle.I have Lynch Syndrome, a genetic cancer that will probably show it's ugly face again. I feel like I will never have financial freedom. I say though, don't give up. I also have type one diabetes mellitus and cost are there also with the insulin pump. Be willing to put yourself out there. I have found help through charities also. Even with insurance, my co pays have been very costly. It is amazing that I am still living. My two other cancers were ovarian, and colon cancer. I pray everyday and feel that faith still goes a long way. I say to myself, God has a reason for me to still be here and somehow I meet the budget every month. Please search every avenue. I was very surprise of the help I got. Thank you.
Here's my pearl: don't get cancer if you don't have insurance.
In September I will file for my 2nd bankruptcy, thanks to the "health care team" I had to use. The Salvation Army paid my rent one month, friends had to help...
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