One of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States and worldwide is cancer. Currently, the top leading cancer types are colorectal cancer, breast cancer and skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 1.7 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2017 and more than 15 million Americans today have had a history of cancer.
Yearly, cancer ends the lives of more than 500,000 Americans and about 1 in 4 deaths in the US is due to cancer-related illness. Some people survive cancer while some live with it for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, not only does cancer take an immense impact on the health and well-being of patients, it also drains them financially—even those with insurance.
Cancer represents a huge financial burden in the US. A 2017 report from the Cancer Action Network, the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society, found that “in 2014, cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion out-of-pocket for cancer treatments,” and that according to U.S. News “roughly $87.8 billion was spent in 2014 in the US on cancer-related health care. These costs were paid by employers, insurance companies and taxpayer-funded public programs like Medicare and Medicaid, as well as by cancer patients and their families.”
Sadly, based on the continued growth and aging of the US population, and the costs of new diagnostic and therapeutic agents; it is estimated that the costs will also continue to increase throughout the years.
Financial Help for Cancer Treatments
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, the next thing the doctor and the patient will talk about is cancer treatment. In this type of disease, no one-size-fits-all. The regimen will depend on a lot of factor which includes: the organs in the body that are involved, the extent of the cancer, the patient’s age, the patient’s functional capacity, and of course, the patient’s financial capabilities.
There are three major treatment modalities in cancer: medical therapy (includes chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy), surgical therapy, and radiation therapy. Some patients need to undergo only one of these modalities, but others may need to undergo combination therapies. The cost it will incur will depend on the type and the extent of the chosen therapy.
Aside from the cost of the treatment, there are also a lot of indirect costs of cancer that add to the encumbrance of the patients and their families. The indirect costs include caregiving costs, transportation to treatment facilities, costs for special food, and even mental health services and legal services.
Fortunately, there are non-profit organizations in the US that provide assistance to cancer patients and their families. They offer programs that vary according to the different patients’ needs.
Below are the enumeration of these local and national financial support resources. You may contact these organizations directly to learn more about their services.
- The American Cancer Society—It directs people to services in their community. This organization offers not only information on cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention, it also provides information on patient support. It has local chapters throughout the country.
- The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC)—This is a group of national organizations that provide financial assistance to patients.
- CancerCare—It provides limited financial assistance for co-pays, transportation, home care and child care.
- American Life Fund—This company help patients with terminal cancer obtain cash for their life insurance policies.
- HealthWellFoundation—It is an independent, non-profit organization that provides financial help for medical therapy to those with chronic diseases (including cancer) when their health insurance is not enough.
There are also local health insurance programs for patients. One of them is the Nevada Medicaid which helps those patients who can’t afford to pay some or all of their medical bills.
Nevada Medicaid will pay your health care providers directly. However, this program is only available to those eligible patients who belong to the low-income group.
There are also certain centers in the country that provides residential home for patients with chronic illnesses. One of these is the Congregate Living Health Facilities (CLHF homes) which provides inpatient care including medical supervision, nursing care, and supportive care, which is more affordable than hospital care.
CLHF homes also provide services to those who are mentally alert, physically disabled or those who are ventilator-dependent. They are located in several locations in the country. Each CLHF home is located in residential areas and they are no more than six beds to provide patients with better services.
Lilly Myers’ Bio
Lilly Myers is a freelance content writer and social worker at Beverly Hills Speech Therapy. She has just recently received Master’s in Medical Sciences. Besides her occupancy she tries to find a spare time for volunteering and helping the people with disorders.