Healthcare is expensive and cancer care particularly so. Financial stress and hardships after a cancer diagnosis and throughout treatment have been well-documented in the U.S. Over 50% of cancer survivors report being stressed about paying high medical bills or have delayed medical care due to high costs.
Research shows that cancer patients spend more out of pocket for their medical care than their counterparts without cancer, which can lead patients and their family towards what is known as ‘financial toxicity’. It can also compound as negative physical and mental health effects and can impact patients’ quality of life and treatment outcomes.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in both men and women in the U.S. A recent study comparing the colon cancer treatment costs between insurance-based benefit schemes and care sources within the US Military Healthy Systems (MHS) highlighted that the median cost of colon cancer treatment was $60,321 regardless of the care scheme. Considering the high cost of care, it is important to be well informed when discussing treatment options with your multidisciplinary care team. It could also be advantageous to research the average cost associated with each treatment option made available to you. Here are some resources that could help you understand the cost of cancer care:
Various resources for cancer financial aid are available that assist with cancer treatment, hospital stay, as well as non-medical costs such as grocery and utility bills. Here are a few:
Children and Young Adults
Federal and State Benefits
Cancer patients who need to go on disability because they cannot work—either due to their cancer, the treatment, or because of after effects—may be eligible for Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income.
Fertility and Family-Building
- MealTrain to organize meals for a friend after a birth, surgery, or illness
Transportation can pose a significant challenge for a patient who may need help getting to and from their cancer treatment site, because they may not be able to drive themselves and family caregivers may not be able to take time off from work. Here are some options:
Many hospitals have patient navigators who can help you identify additional sources relevant to you and your diagnosis. Patient navigators help:
- Guide patients through screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up
- Set up appointments with doctors and for medical tests
- Communicate with the patient’s care providers
- Connect patients with financial, legal, and social support
Most major health systems and hospitals have a patient navigation program. Find out more by speaking to your oncologist, your multidisciplinary care team member, or by enquiring at your hospital or treatment center.