Once the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis has worn off, patients and their families will likely have one thing in sight: beating the disease. Focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel, the day when the patient is cancer-free, is an important motivator that can strengthen and empower patients to reach the finish line.
But the finish line won’t be without its challenges. Many cancer survivors are left with significant financial hardships related to their disease and treatment.
The financial landscape
Treatment costs likely inflict the greatest financial burden after a diagnosis. From chemo and pill regimens to hospital stays and co-pays, the bills can add up, and quickly. But it’s not all medical costs, as a number of less-expected bills may also crop up.
The loss of wages from time off or medical leave can hit the wallet hard. A change in lifestyle can also mean a change in finances. For instance, a patient may need to hire someone to help out around the house, watch their kids or even walk the dog, all of which come with a price tag.
How to be prepared
The financial landscape for cancer patients is a daunting one, but the good news is that there is financial help for cancer patients.
Preparation is key to being able to overcome financial hurdles.
Patients should work closely with financial counselors and advisors, which are offered at many care centers. They can be a fountain of resources and knowledgeable advice. Such representatives are a good source for information about financial-assistance programs at pharmaceutical companies. It’s important to get such requests in early, as most companies require that the patient is pre-treatment before working with them to lower the cost of their medication.
There is also a sea of nonprofits across the country whose missions are to provide financial help for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society is a leading national group that offers information about where to find support in your area.
Financial hardships are a natural side effect of cancer treatment. But with some serious planning and preparation, you can still celebrate that milestone of reaching the light at the end of the tunnel.