A breast cancer diagnosis often takes both a physical and emotional toll on the patient and her family.
What many fail to consider are the financial implications of treatment and recovery, and how that can affect one’s long-term security.
“It doesn’t take long to exhaust savings when you have a chronic illness, and that’s really what cancer has become,” points out Dr. Andrew Hertler, chief medical officer of New Century Health.
“We do much better, people are living much longer, but that care is chronic care. It can be expensive, not just for a short period of time but over a very long period of time.”
We’re going to break down the standard cost of treatment and discuss the resources you have to address it, better allowing you to focus on the fight to beat cancer.
What Can I Expect?
In a study comparing the cost of cancer treatment against tumor stage and service, it was reported that the average cost per patient one year after diagnoses was $60,637 dollars, $82,121 dollars, $129,387 dollars and $134,682 dollars for disease stage 0, I/II, III and IV, respectively.
These costs increased anywhere between 18.25 percent and 35.62 percent in a second year of treatment, based on the cost of chemotherapy and non-cancer treatments.
Non-cancer treatments can include follow-up treatment or rehabilitation, depending on the individual situation.
Getting Help: Insurance
Insurance plans can help minimize these fees, but patients with high-deductible standard plans often pay up to $5,000 of costs before insurance kicks in, with only 80 percent coverage.
In order to find the best coverage to supplement your existing healthcare plan, do your research ahead of time or consult with a licensed professional and consider investing in critical illness and cancer insurance.
About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
As such, women should regularly attend cancer screenings with their local doctor and consider purchasing supplemental insurance to protect their future.
As the emergencies and illnesses covered by this plan often incur large medical costs, policies pay out cash to help cover overages where standard health insurance falls short.
At a relatively low cost, it’s a small supplemental investment that can make a huge difference.
Getting Help: Financial Support
Many organizations like the Pink Fund or the Susan G. Komen Foundation are dedicated to helping breast cancer patients receive the support they need to cover treatment costs.
“We know anecdotally it’s very challenging financially for patients,” comments Molly MacDonald, founder of the Pink Fund.
As treatment costs combine with scaled-back working hours, increased childcare costs or additional needs, “that lost income compounds the financial challenges for them,” she says.
You Are Not Alone
In addition to your family and friends, there are organizations throughout the country dedicated to you and your recovery, should you receive a breast cancer diagnosis.
The financial burden of treatment can feel overwhelming, and it’s important to prepare for any scenario.
Put a financial plan in place that includes purchasing supplemental insurance coverage and leveraging additional resources to ensure peace of mind while you focus on healing.
Holly Rollins is the president of 10xdigital, a digital marketing agency specializing in marketing strategy, SEO, pay-per-click, advertising and more. With 20+ years of marketing experience, Holly has successfully created content marketing and digital marketing/PR programs for clients including healthcare, wellness, insurance and senior housing.