This is a guest blog for Mightycause by Anna Suarez, a rare disease advocate.
A modern-day cancer diagnosis comes with a variety of questions. What is my prognosis? What treatment options are available to me? Where should I go to find more information?
In many cases, another main concern for patients involves finances and a cancer diagnosis becomes not only a health concern, but a financial one as well.
Where will I get the money to pay for my treatment?
Even with insurance, the cost of treatment has spiked and many people find themselves unable to afford it or severely in debt as a result. Additionally, an unfortunate reality is that many people diagnosed with cancer are forced to leave their jobs, which leads to the loss of health insurance. In the case of a cancer diagnosis, treatment helps prolong life expectancy and may potentially help the patient enter remission, so opting out isn’t advised.
If you or someone you know has received a cancer diagnosis, these four tips are a good place to start in the process of handling expenses.
1. Do Research on Your Own
After diagnosis, it’s best to do some individual research. It may seem daunting, but doing research on your own and having an idea of what it will cost you, with or without insurance, is an integral first step in the process. Unfortunately, the average cost of cancer drugs for a patient for one year is rising. Between 2009 and 2014, the average cost of cancer drugs for one patient was about $100,000 and that number has raised to over $400,000 for just one year.
2. Be Prepared with Questions to Ask Your Doctor
After you’ve done your research on your own, bring the information you’ve found to your next doctor’s appointment and come prepared with questions to ask. Each case differs financially depending on the type of cancer and prognosis, but some good example questions include:
- What are my treatment options?
- What is the typical cost of these treatments?
- How much will my insurance likely cover?
- Aside from insurance, is there any additional financial assistance?
3. Fundraise for Yourself
In today’s society, websites can help people fundraise for themselves, other people or causes close to their hearts. Crowdfunding, the act of a large amount of people donating small amounts of money to a fundraiser, is an excellent way for cancer patients to have access to the necessary funds to afford treatment. Through these platforms, the fundraiser can be created and is then able to be shared via social networks for widespread circulation and increased visibility.
4. Consider the Alternatives
For cancers that result by fault of someone other than genetics or the patient, there may be an alternative option. Mesothelioma, for example, is a cancer with only one known cause: asbestos exposure. For those who were wrongfully exposed, there may be a possibility for compensation.
Too often, workers were exposed to asbestos while on the job because companies used asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in products well into the second half of the 20th century, despite knowing the dangers. As a result, thousands of people are diagnosed with the cancer each year. Fortunately, patients have the option to take action against these companies as a means to pay for treatment costs.
A cancer diagnosis typically leads to worries for the patient and his or her family, but being prepared with questions to ask and some possible solutions to cover treatment costs will help with peace of mind.