Coping with the Cost of Cancer: A Useful Guide

Scientist in Laboratory

For the millions of Americans who are living with cancer or are in remission, coping with the costs can be extremely overwhelming. Healthcare, treatment, and medicines can be astronomical even with insurance, leaving many cancer survivors struggling just to make ends meet. Many survivors find themselves in debt for years due to medical bills or changes in employment as a result of their illness, leaving stress on their shoulders and causing issues in relationships.

This is why it’s so important to understand all of the costs associated with a cancer diagnosis and how to pay for treatment without draining your savings. In some cases, it can be extremely difficult to do because of limited means, but if you are very careful, there are some ways you can plan ahead or get ahead of the debt. The key is to do some research so you’ll have a complete understanding of how to move forward. 

Keep reading for some of the best tips on how to cope with the cost of cancer.

Know Your Rights and Plan for the Future

It’s imperative that you understand what your rights and responsibilities are when it comes to future planning. A terminal cancer diagnosis can mean many things, not the least of which is a plan for your final wishes. If you (or a loved one, if you are a caretaker or executor) become too ill to make decisions, you’ll want a will that will include instructions on how to handle your estate. For a caretaker, it will be imperative to be able to establish a legal way to take care of your loved one’s needs, such as gaining power of attorney and appointing a social security rep

Do Some Research

It’s important to do some research in regards to medication and treatment so you know what your options are and how to be prepared for the cost. Even with insurance or Medicare, many cancer treatments are expensive and require out-of-pocket payments that can range into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Medication is pricey, too, but there are different types; ask your doctor about which ones are more cost-effective.

Apply for Assistance

Fortunately, there are programs available to help individuals who are living with a cancer diagnosis pay for treatment and medication. The criteria vary and are not necessarily income-based, but you’ll need to be patient throughout the application process, which can take a while. It also requires paperwork from your doctor, and many programs have caps (or a limit to the amount of funding you’ll receive in a lifetime), but it’s still very much worth your time.

Don’t Skip Your Medication to Cut Costs

In some cases, cancer survivors have chosen to skip medication or lower their dosage on their own without approval from their doctor just because of the expense, but doing so can wreak havoc on your body and can cause stress that isn’t so easy to beat. If the costs are becoming too overwhelming, talk to your doctor and look for ways you can make informed decisions about your healthcare needs without sacrificing your actual health.

Dealing with the cost of cancer can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression, and, in some cases, even substance abuse. It’s important to look for healthy ways to cope with these feelings in order to focus on getting well; garner support from friends and family who can help you through this difficult time. With some creative thinking and planning, you can ensure that the high cost of healthcare doesn’t drag you down.

The Side-Out Foundation is striving to create a world where breast cancer isn’t terminal. If you’d like to help our organization, learn how you can become an ambassador.

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