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Easing the Financial Burden of a Cancer Diagnosis

Although the overall rate of cancer deaths is declining in the United States, a cancer diagnosis can have a devastating effect on patients’ finances.

 Don’t overlook these resources and steps to take to minimize cancer’s financial impact.

Lean on your care team

Don’t be afraid to speak up to your oncologist, primary care doctor, nurses, case managers and social workers to let them know you are having trouble affording your cancer treatments. They may be able to refer you to support services that can help.

Seek manufacturer assistance

Some drug companies will cover a percentage (or total cost) of medications for people who meet qualifications (usually lower income patients.) Start with the manufacturer’s website, or ask your doctor to help.

Explore local support groups

Many local support groups can help cancer patients directly with funds, or can help indirectly by putting patients in touch with the right people. Check your local Catholic Charities, United Way, Jewish Social Services, Salvation Army, etc.

Take advantage of cancer-related nonprofits

A quick Google search of cancer-related nonprofits is a great way to get started when looking for additional support. Below are just a few:

This is just a small list of nonprofits that can help. For a more comprehensive list, visit opens in a new window

Turn to family and friends

It is very common for people trying to pay for cancer treatment turn to family and friends for help. Online fundraisers, social media and community events are all great ways to allow friends and family to show their concern, love and support.

Check your existing supplemental insurance

Private companies sell supplemental insurance designed to help reduce both medical and non-medical costs of expenses related to illness. Some insurance is cancer-specific and others provide benefits for diagnosis of specified illnesses. Purchasing a supplemental insurance for cancer may especially make sense for people who have a strong family history of the disease.  However, many insurance companies do not offer cancer –specific supplemental insurance policies to those who have a history of cancer.  Coverage and benefits vary for every plan, so be sure to read the fine print and ask lots of questions.  If you are diagnosed with cancer, be sure to check your existing supplemental insurance to see if it may provide benefits due to your diagnosis.