The Other Financial Costs of Cancer

stethoscope on pink scrubs

[Photo Credit: Flickr]

Any long term illness can have a lasting impact on your way of life. Whether the illness directly effects you or someone you know or love, serious diseases can not only have the obvious effect on the body, but also on the mind and the spirit. Another effect can impact a far different area: your finances.

For those who are diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, having health insurance may not cover all of your expenses. While the insurance itself may pay for the treatments you or your loved one needs, there are other expenses that can place a strain on your bank account, expenses that might not immediately come to mind but are a part of every day life when it comes to battling cancer.

As an example, you may live in an area that requires you to travel in order to get the best in care. Transportation and related expenses can add up over time. Also, if you are employed, depending on the nature of your job and your workplace policy, you might not be able to take the amount of time necessary in order to solely focus on treatment and care.

Additional expenses can come in the form of hiring a professional caregiver if one is needed at home, or adopting a specialized diet to boost the immune system, or even co-pays on medicine that is covered by your health insurance. The financial consequences are ones that aren’t often addressed since the focus is on medical treatment.

There are resources available for both cancer patients and family or friends who act as caregivers. A first step to take is to visit the American Cancer Society‘s website to learn more about what’s available. The their Road To Recovery program allows you to enter in your ZIP code so you can find transportation assistance in your area. Even if you’re able to get cancer treatment at a local hospital or medical facility, there are times when you might feel too tired or too ill to make the drive yourself, or, if you rely on friends and family, they may be unable to take you to every appointment. Public transportation might not be the best option, either, due to delays and transfers, and taxis can be an added expense. The American Cancer Society assists patients with getting a ride to their treatment sessions.

Another nation-wide non-profit group is Cleaning For A Reason. Cancer and the related drug and radiation therapies can be exhausting on a patient. A family member might not have enough time in their day to provide care, support, run errands, drive to appointments, and to take care of something like cleaning the house. That’s where Cleaning For A Reason steps in. This charity partners with professional maid services across the country in order to provide house cleaning for cancer patients, free of charge. Not only does this save time and provide stress relief, but it also saves on money that might have been spent on hiring someone keep your home neat and, most importantly, sanitary.

There are also resources available from your medical team. Most major hospitals have medical social workers on staff to help with counseling and psychotherapy as well as helping patients and families get access to resources and community level support. You can also contact the health department in your area to find out more about the resources you can use in your city and state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) can help you find your state or region’s health department to learn more.

While they can sometimes be difficult to locate, resources to help you manage or even eliminate certain cancer (or other illness) related costs are obtainable. Find out as much as you can via the Internet so you can get the details and contact information you need. If you’re wondering if a particular non-profit organization has a good track record or if they are legitimate, you can check on them with groups like Charity Navigator and GuideStar to make sure you’re getting the best possible assistance. There is hope and there are people who are willing and ready to help.



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