Managing the Cost of Cancer Care - Where do I begin?

Choosing Someone to Coordinate the Financial Costs Associated with your Cancer Care 

The very first question you should ask about managing the financial aspects of cancer is: “Am I able to coordinate the financial piece of my cancer care right now?” If you answer “No,” perhaps you can ask a friend or family member to do this for you. If you feel there is not a friend or family member who can help you, ask your doctor to refer you to an oncology social worker or to a nonprofit organization for help managing financial issues. Many people diagnosed with cancer ask someone else to keep up with the financial aspects of care. The key is that someone must address these issues.

Until now, it has been difficult to find one place where people affected by cancer could learn about practical matters such as insurance coverage, Medicare and Medicaid, co-pay assistance, Patient Assistance Programs, Social Security and other resources to help manage cancer-related finances. Our goal is to provide a road map to the financial side of the cancer experience.

Become Patient Active 

Founded in 1982, the Cancer Support Community empowers people with cancer to become “Patient Active” — meaning that people who participate in their care, along with their health care team and loved ones, will improve the quality of their lives and may enhance the possibility of recovery. Similarly, those who love someone with cancer can also take an active role in the cancer journey.

Being Patient Active is particularly important when it comes to paying for cancer treatment. Information about the cost of cancer treatment and treatment related issues can be confusing, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, ignoring these issues will not make them magically go away. Avoidance can lead to even greater anxiety down the road. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Discuss the Costs of Your Cancer Treatment 

During the emotion-filled time of diagnosis and early treatment, the tendency can be for financial concerns to take a back seat. Some people are scared to discuss cost with their treatment team (the physicians, nurses, social workers and others providing care), fearing that if they ask about it and cannot afford it, treatment will be delayed, or a “lesser” treatment will be proposed. Others are simply not focused on the cost of care. Still others assume that if they have insurance, the cost of care will be covered in full.

Good News! There Are Many Options to Help You Pay for the Cost of Your Cancer Care

The Cancer Support Community has gathered credible and valuable information from many sources. We hope this information will help you deal with the significant financial costs related to cancer and the potential life changes that cancer can bring. The resources for financial assistance discussed in our Coping with the Cost of Care book may not be enough to cover all of your cancer-related expenses or prevent you from accumulating medical debt. However, this information can help you regain some control and formulate a plan for how to best deal with the financial aspects of care.

Using this site as your guide, it is our aim that you will access these resources to navigate and conquer the financial burden of cancer. Additionally, by actively coping with the cost of cancer care, you will feel less alone, gain a greater sense of control and feel increasingly hopeful about the future.

Download the Frankly Speaking About Cancer guide to Coping with the Cost of Care 3rd Edition (PDF)
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