What Are The Non-Medical Costs Of Cancer Treatment?
A cancer diagnosis and the treatment to follow has a tremendous impact on a patient and their family. Not just emotionally and physically, but financially too.
And, it’s not just the out-of-pocket medical expenses that can run a hefty toll. It’s the non-medical costs of cancer that can really add up and have a devastating affect on a cancer patient and their family’s near- and long-term finances.
According to the American Cancer Society, 67% of the total costs of cancer treatment are non-medical. Also, a 2013 study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center indicates that cancer patients are more than 2.5 times more likely to go bankrupt than people without cancer.
What are some of these non-medical costs of cancer that leaves patients so vulnerable to medical bankruptcy, and ill-prepared to face even for those with a good health insurance plan? Here are a few of the common expenses people face:
Lost Work and Wages – According to one study, women who were undergoing treatment for breast cancer missed an average of 44.5 days from work. In addition, men diagnosed with prostate cancer missed an average of 27 days from work. Some cancer patients might be lucky and be able use up a considerable amount of paid time-off through their employer. Some might not be so lucky and will be forced to miss many days of working during cancer treatment, resulting in lost wages they normally depend on and receive.
Travel – A patient might have to travel frequently for cancer treatment. Fuel and potential parking expenses will add up over time. And, if a patient needs to travel out-of-state for tests or treatment at one of the best cancer hospitals in the United States, they will incur costs for a flight, food and lodging.
Treatment-Related Products – From a wig to food supplements to over-the-counter medications, all of these costs can add up. And, any and all items like this will not be covered by health insurance plans for cancer patients.
Additional non-medical costs of cancer a patient and their family could face is a nurse aide for at-home care, a social worker or psychologist to serve as your counselor, and extra child care if you have children. For resources and potential financial support for cancer patients, you can visit this helpful campaign page from PBS.
Published by Kristen Reineke
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