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Serious financial hardship a serious problem for cancer survivors

Being diagnosed with any serious illness can completely change a person’s life and future. In the blink of an eye, a person can go from worrying about what to make for dinner to worrying about life expectancy. This can be especially true for people who are diagnosed with cancer.

While this is undoubtedly one of the most devastating diagnoses to receive, medical advances have been to help cure or slow the growth of cancer in addition to improving a person’s qualify of life. Unfortunately, the cost of pursuing these care options is higher than a lot of people can afford.

In our last post, which can be read here, we talked about the fact that a staggering 20 percent of people with health insurance still struggle with debt stemming from medical care.

According to a recent cancer-specific study that examined data from a 2012 survey, roughly 33 percent of cancer survivors surveyed went into debt and 3 percent filed for bankruptcy as a result of having and treating their cancer. More than half of the people who fell into debt did so as a result of having more than $10,000 in costs associated with cancer.

The study goes on to make the distinction that younger people were the most vulnerable to incurring debt as they did not have the financial support and health insurance coverage many of the older survivors had.

The fact that financial hardship affects so many cancer survivors and their families is certainly troubling. People should not have to deal with foreclosure proceedings and aggressive debt collectors while they are trying to treat their illness and they should not have to deal with bankruptcy when they recover. Unfortunately, until more cost-effective solutions are available, these are all issues that may become unavoidable.

If you are in this situation, you need to know that you do not have to go through this difficult time alone. Discussing your options with a lawyer can help you identify and pursue debt relief options that allow you to stay focused on your health and well-being.

Source: NCBI, “For Working-Age Cancer Survivors, Medical Debt And Bankruptcy Create Financial Hardships,” Jan. 1, 2016

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