The diagnosis is devastating… the treatments doctors recommend can be traumatic…
… and when the bills start rolling in—you quickly realize that the cost of curing cancer is just about as bad as the disease! Here’s what cancer does to your bank account, and what you can do about it…
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A recent study1 indicates that cancer patients are three times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people without the disease.
According to a June 2013 study from the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research in Washington, younger people with cancer were five times more likely to declare bankruptcy compared to older patients.
Those odds are alarming when you consider that tough economic times have driven bankruptcies sky high for people who aren’t dealing with a cancer diagnosis!
Study co-author Karma Kreizenbeck says that while their paper shows how cancer causes patients to run up medical debts that can lead to bankruptcy, “it could also mean people have to take second jobs, end up with lower credit scores or have to make other decisions.”
If you’re wondering about the numbers, consider this estimate from the National Cancer Institute (NCI)2 …
According to their research, cancer costs in 2010 reached a staggering $124 billion in the United States. And you can bet these numbers will continue their upward trend, with some estimates of cancer costs reaching at least $158 billion by 2020.
If you’re already emotionally and physically exhausted from dealing with disease, the last thing you need is the stress of worrying about how to pay for treatments.
But that’s the unfortunate reality for thousands of sick cancer patients. Let’s take a look at some of the costs you can expect to face…
A surefire way to drain your bank account
Cancer.net, a website of cancer information from American Society of Clinical Oncology, breaks down some of the common costs associated with cancer. These include:
- Doctor appointments—Even when you have medical insurance, you typically are responsible for a co-payment for each visit. The amount of the co-pay is set by the insurance company and can really add up when visits are frequent. What’s more, you’ll often be on the hook for separate charges associated with each laboratory test done as part of your appointment.
- Treatment expenses—These include charges for any medical care, such as radiation and chemotherapy sessions, that you receive during your cancer treatment. A study from Duke University Medical Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute3 showed that 215 insured cancer patients reported spending an average of $712 a month in out-of-pocket expenses.And even insured women with breast cancer can expect to shell out anywhere from $150-200 weekly for radiology visits if they have high insurance co-pays!Because cancer treatment can take anywhere from a few days to months or years—you’ll need a doctor or nurse to help you determine how often and for how long you may incur these out-of-pocket costs.
- Medication costs—It’s likely your share of the cost of cancer drugs will be high. So count on shelling out B-I-G bucks for chemotherapy plus other medicines to help relieve side effects.
- Transportation—Don’t overlook gas and other expenses you may have when traveling to and from your treatment facility. And if you’re seeking treatment outside of your home state, you’ll have to foot the travel costs for tickets, lodging and food while you’re away.
- Family and living expenses—You may incur costs related to running your household during your cancer treatment. These could include childcare or elder care expenses.
- Caregiving, at-home care, and long-term care—Cancer patients may require extensive assistance during treatment, such as fixing meals or transportation to medical appointments. Some patients even require long-term nursing care.
- Employment, legal, and financial issues—A cancer patient may incur costs for professional guidance to help address loss of wages for the patient or caregiver, to help sort out the tax implications of medical expenses, or to help write a will.
This is just a snapshot of some of the costs you may incur. But it should be more than enough to show that fighting cancer is truly a financial burden.
So is there any help available?
Some resources to help ease your burden…
Of course, some of the most effective treatments are natural foods and supplements that don’t cost very much at all. I firmly believe, based on the people we’ve interviewed during the last eight years, that patients can beat cancer on their own at home or by working with an alternative doctor on an outpatient basis.
Particularly for late-stage cancer patients, I believe the conventional treatments are almost worthless and you’re better off with alternatives. Don’t waste your last dollar on the chemo treatment that’s supposed to give you two more months (it probably won’t). Try the kinds of things Bill Henderson recommends in How to Cure Almost Any Cancer at Home for $5.15 or Day, or that Ty Bollinger recommends in The 31-Day Home Cancer Cure.
These are proven, validated cancer protocols that work for a lot of people. They don’t work for 100 percent of patients — that’s not realistic — but I’m convinced they have a MUCH higher success rate for late-stage cancer than do conventional treatments.
But if you’re an early-stage cancer patient you may decide to roll the dice on conventional treatments, or maybe you want to combine conventional and alternative therapies. Or perhaps you have a family member with cancer who won’t consider alternatives.
In that case, you may need to brace yourself for a financial shock. In Issue #268, we covered a variety of resources that are available to people in the mainstream medical system and — sometimes — to patients undergoing alternative treatments. I suggest you take a look at that issue, and make sure you aren’t missing any help that might available.
There are many non-profit organizations that provide assistance with medications, lodging, transportation, cleaning and other services for cancer patients.
And “Obamacare” — the new federal law officially known as The Affordable Care Act — is supposed to make healthcare more affordable and available to people diagnosed with cancer and other grave diseases. We’ll see.
My wish is that the half million cancer patients diagnosed each year find the financial, emotional and medical support they need!
Lee Euler, Publisher