Health Minute: The Cost Of Surviving Cancer

Stock Photo: Darko Stojanovic

WESTERN NEW YORK – Just about everyone who has experienced an illness of some sort knows that doctors and medications can cost a lot.

Sometimes patients can blow through a couple hundred dollars just trying to treat an infection. But what about prolonged and invasive treatments for cancer? What are the costs then?

According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one quarter of cancer survivors say they have trouble paying their medical bills; and had to borrow money, accrue debt, or file for bankruptcy.

One third said just worrying about their medical costs caused psychological distress.

The average out of pocket spending each year for patients post-cancer was about $1000, compared to $622 for those without a cancer history.

One theory as to why these bills keep piling up, is that cancer survivors are more likely to utilize the health care system.

Experts say it’s important that cancer patients talk to their health care and insurance providers before starting treatment to understand what they will be facing financially. This can help the patient create a plan going forward.

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