There was once a time when a diagnosis of cancer was something that was whispered about, and the cancer patient was expected to quietly fade into the life of a shut-in who would not be seen again except by those closest to them. The next anybody would hear would be an obituary. Things are different today. Cancer is openly discussed and cancer treatments are technologically advanced and progressing every day. Where cancer once automatically carried a death sentence, that outcome is no longer assumed, and cancer patients are treated with a wide variety of ground-breaking treatment options.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that those cancer treatments come at a very high price, and no matter how robust a cancer patient’s health insurance may be, it is all too common for families to be simultaneously encouraged by news of medical advances and discouraged by word of what cancer – and treating cancer – costs.
Though treating most advanced illnesses can be expensive, there are certain types of cancer that are more expensive than others, and the costs are exacerbated by age. According to the National Cancer Institute, the five most expensive cancer treatments for seniors include brain cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, esophageal cancer and stomach cancer. Cancer treatments can be expected to cost as much as $115,000 for the initial treatment of brain cancer, and nearly $78,400 for the initial treatment of stomach cancer, and ongoing annual cancer treatment costs ranging from nearly $12,000 per year to about $4,000 per year for stomach cancer’s ongoing costs.
|Type of Cancer||Initial Cost (in thousands)||Ongoing Annual Treatment Costs (in thousands)|
In order to understand what is driving these cancer costs, it is important to realize that much of the determination of costs has to do with where you are treated, how long you will be treated, and the type of cancer treatment that is needed. The top costs associated with cancer care include physicians’ appointments, each of which will include a copay that is set by the insurance company; laboratory and diagnostic tests, which also have a copay that the patient is required to pay; the treatment itself, which may consist of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, or more innovative treatments such as immunotherapy or gene therapy; medication, for which patients are often required to pay a copay; transportation and travel to and from the hospital where treatment is available; family and living expenses required to continue running your household; home care or long-term care; and the unfortunate and unexpected costs of dealing with legal issues such as employment.
With numbers running this high, it is no wonder that so many of those who are undergoing treatment need help with cancer bills.
If you or someone that you love has been diagnosed with cancer and you are trying to take a proactive approach to the finances, you are to be commended. Many cancer patients don’t stop to think about how to pay for cancer treatment, and are suddenly at a loss when they find themselves unable to pay their day-to-day bills or the continuing costs of their cancer care.
Seeking help from a financial expert is a good start, and so is doing your own investigating about the various options that are available to you. One answer that has proven to be a boon to many of those diagnosed with advanced stage illnesses is the opportunity to tap the value of an already-existing life insurance policy by taking out a life insurance loan. For more information about this type of program, contact the helpful team at Fifth Season Financial.
Relieve financial stress with the Funds For Living Program.