Cost of Care for 3 Common Types of Cancer

While a cancer diagnosis of any kind brings with it a wealth of financial worries, not all types of cancer are the same — so the cost of cancer treatment can vary greatly. Costs depend on a number of factors, such as the method of treatment — radiation therapy versus chemotherapy versus surgery, or sometimes a combination of all of these approaches. Costs also impacted by the type of imaging needed, the extent of the medication regimen, length of hospital stays and level of home care required, as well as many other considerations. Despite many differences, the cost of cancer treatment is often very significant, no matter the type of cancer, which is why it’s important for patients to have an idea of total costs before starting treatment, so they can be prepared and also explore all of the options for financial assistance for cancer patients. Here are some of the projected costs for treatment of the most common forms of cancer: Breast Cancer  NCI predicts women diagnosed with breast cancer will pay a mean of $23,078 in the first year after diagnosis, followed by annual costs of $2,207. If the diagnosis ends up coming within the patient’s last year of life, the cost is a staggering $62,856. Prostate Cancer  For men diagnosed with prostate cancer, NCI estimates they will pay $19,710 for the cost of cancer treatment in the initial year, followed by annual costs of $3,201. If it is a late-stage diagnosis and the patient dies that year, the projected cost of care is $62,242. Lung Cancer  Lung cancer is among the more costly types of cancer....

How to Manage Neuropathic Pain during Cancer Treatment

Side effects of cancer treatment are varied, depending on the type of therapy, the individual diagnosis, and the person’s body; however, it’s fair to say most cancer patients will have to deal with some unfortunate side effects. The most known effects of chemotherapy are hair loss and nausea, but this treatment and others can cause a host of other negative physical impacts. Neuropathic cancer pain is one phenomenon associated with a number of chemo drugs. Neuropathy, which occurs after damage to the peripheral nerves, may present as numbness, tingling and burning in the hands and feet, numbness around the mouth, loss of sensation, constipation, physical disorientation, and weakness. Patients who have previously been treated with chemotherapy and those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, alcoholism or malnutrition are all at higher risk for neuropathic cancer pain. While each patient’s case is different, according to Healthline, there are a number of home remedies for neuropathic pain that may provide some relief, such as: Exercise: Regular exercise, to the extent that is safe and comfortable for patients, promotes proper blood flow, can reduce blood pressure and slow nerve damage. Warm bath: Warm water can help increase blood flow, which may decrease the symptoms of neuropathy. Essential oils: Chamomile and lavender are especially known to decrease inflammation and promote circulation. Meditation: Already used by many cancer patients, meditation can be particularly beneficial for helping patients to learn to overcome neuropathic cancer pain. Acupuncture: Stimulating pressure points can trigger the body to release chemicals that help it manage pain. Vitamins: Vitamin B, either in food or as a pill, is especially helpful for...

Better Skincare During Cancer Treatment

Looking your best can have you really feeling your best — and that’s particularly important for cancer patients. We all know how satisfying it is when our skin is smooth, our nails buffed and polished, and our hair perfectly styled but for those undergoing treatment for cancer, finding that fulfillment can be especially hard. Many patients encounter challenges and changes to skincare during chemo and other therapies to treat cancer. As the treatments attack and kill cancer cells, they are also affecting skin cells, the body’s first and most visible line of defense against the outside world. Rashes, dry and brittle nails, and itching skin are all common impacts on skincare during cancer treatments, along with the more well-known side effect of hair loss in chemo patients. In a way, changing skin health can be a good thing, as it signifies cellular changes, suggesting a treatment is heading in the right direction; however, for patients who are already battling serious side effects, disruptions to their lives and financial stress, having another thing to worry about will seem like anything but positive news. And while effects on skin health may seem a nuisance in the grand scheme of obstacles that cancer patients are facing, dry, cracked skin can be extremely painful as well as put patients at further risk of infection, meaning it’s important that they take skincare during cancer treatments seriously. There are ways that patients can promote skin health — before, during and after treatment. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center advises patients to begin a skincare regimen about one week before undergoing chemotherapy. The facility suggests using fragrance-free products, such...

5 Common Types of Cancer Treatment

Exploring the many different types of cancer treatment that are available may seem overwhelming to many patients. Each patient’s individual diagnosis and prognosis should dictate the course of treatment, as no two cancers are exactly alike and need unique approaches to ensure the optimal chance for success. There are pros and cons to all of the treatments, such as recovery time and side effects, which patients should review with their team of oncologists to determine which treatment may be best. No matter the course that is decided, patients should also explore options for financial assistance, such as Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loan program, through which they can borrow against their life insurance to pay for lifesaving care. Determining the best course of action can be challenging, but paying for it shouldn’t be. So review these top five most common types of cancer treatment and then make a plan to get back on the path to health: Surgery: This option is most often used for cancers that have not spread and are localized. Skilled surgeons will remove the tumor in either open or minimally invasive surgery. The patient may be cleared following surgery or could need additional treatments. Radiology: Some patients will utilize radiation therapy to attack and kill cancer cells. This is a more prolonged treatment than surgery but is often very effective. Depending on their case, patients may undergo external beam radiation therapy in which a machine directs the radiation into the body, or internal radiation, in which the person ingests a pill or liquid form of radiation. Chemotherapy: This is one of the most known treatments because...

How to Choose a Cancer Treatment Center

A cancer diagnosis brings with it a seemingly endless list of questions: which treatment to pursue, how to get financial assistance for cancer patients, how to continue to manage daily responsibilities and countless other concerns. Before getting to those details, however, patients need to find a cancer treatment center and assemble a team of qualified experts. According to the American Cancer Society, selecting who will deliver the care is perhaps the most important decision cancer patients will make in their journey. ACS offers a number of tips for those exploring how to find a cancer treatment center that is well-versed in their particular diagnosis. ACS advises that one of the best places to start is with the physician who diagnosed the cancer, as he or she may have experience with particular centers or hospitals that would be a good match. Even if the physician offers a suggestion, it’s important to consider several options in the quest to find a cancer treatment center. Patients should determine which facilities have specific experience with the kind of cancer they’re facing and meet in person with the team of specialists to have all of their questions answered upfront. Beyond experience, consider location, travel time and availability of clinical trials. There are also certain standards that patients may want to ensure their top choices meet. The Joint Commission, for instance, has a thorough accreditation process that cancer facilities must meet. Those looking to find a cancer treatment center will want to make sure their potential picks meet the minimum accreditation threshold. The Commission on Cancer also has a comprehensive list of 1,500 cancer centers...

Creating a Plan After a Cancer Diagnosis  

Planning is essential for any major life experience: going to college, buying a house, having a baby. Getting details in order, schedules on track and options sorted can help the best decisions be made, with the best outcomes. The same can be said for unfortunate situations such as a cancer diagnosis. A cancer care plan is an often-overlooked yet highly essential component of a person’s journey through and beyond cancer. From the day a diagnosis is delivered to the moment the news of remission comes, being prepared and informed through a cancer care plan can make each step a bit easier. What is the best way to make a cancer care plan? It’s important to proactively consider the different areas of your life that will be changed by your diagnosis, and then explore the options and opportunities that exist within each to make those changes more manageable. A typical plan could include: Treatment: Among the most important aspects of a cancer care plan is treatment. This portion of the strategy should include research about healthcare facilities, physicians and different treatments available. Patients should understand the ins and outs of each treatment, including the costs, side effects and recovery times. Finances: A cancer care plan should address the patient’s overall financial picture, including estimated costs for treatments, co-pays, and other medical expenses. This aspect of the plan should also include resources for financial assistance for cancer patients. Caregiving: Cancer can interrupt daily responsibilities, such as caring for children or elderly parents. A cancer care plan can address how those obligations will be handled during a patient’s treatment and recovery, including rotating schedules of family...