Ana Ibarra Health

June 12, 2014

Survived cancer, now to deal with the financial burden

Growing medical costs have cancer survivors facing serious economic burdens.

Growing medical costs have cancer survivors facing serious economic burdens. Besides dealing with improving their well-being, cancer survivors, many times, have to battle physical, emotional, psychosocial, employment and financial challenges as a result of their diagnosis and treatment.

A new nationwide study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that male cancer survivors had annual out-of-pocket medical costs that totaled more than $8,00 per person, and productivity losses of $3,700. Female cancer survivors had accumulated about $8,400 in annual medical costs per person and $4,000 in productivity losses.

The study indicated that employment disability accounted for about 75 percent of lost productivity among these cancer survivors. Survivors said cancer treatments interfered with physical and mental tasks required by their jobs. Those who were able to continue their jobs, did have to make several changes to their work schedules and duties. The research also revealed that prior to the Affordable Care Act, 10 percent of cancer survivors, 65 or younger, were not insured and therefore more likely to have a larger financial burden.

While most people do look for financial assistance through their insurance and government programs, there are other options that can help cancer patients and survivors alleviate some of the financial stress. For example, local chapters of the American Cancer Society may be able to provide free services, such as transportation to and from doctor appointments. Some organizations may also be able to provide limited financial assistance with living expenses, such as rent and food. Another option that may sometimes be overlooked is fundraising. Fundraising through sites such as GiveForward is a popular way to invite family and friends to help out with cancer treatment and care. Lastly, seeking professional help from an accountant or financial planner may also be a good idea, as they can help people seek tax credit that will reduce taxes.

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