In many situations, when a family member is diagnosed with cancer, the costs of treatments and travel creates a financial burden that casts a looming cloud over an already poor situation, and my family was no different. As the disease worsened, efforts of treatment continued, and subsequently so did the costs of each treatment, until at one point they were considered futile.
Despite this, we were constantly supported along the way by the help of our community to give my mother the best fighting chance. Help came in all types of forms, from donations to homemade dinners, to even gifted hockey tickets. Here at the Diane fund, we model our organization after this tight community model and welcome every form of assistance that any one person can give. We want to help alleviate the outside distractions that take energy away from caring for loved ones, but the cost of cancer is sadly only rising. In a newly published report on the status of Cancer to the nation, the US national debt created by cancer was $21.09 billion USD, which was made up of $16 billion out-of-pocket payments and patients' time costs of $5 billion.
“As the costs of cancer treatment continue to rise, greater attention to addressing patient medical financial hardship, including difficulty paying medical bills, high levels of financial distress, and delaying care or forgoing care altogether because of cost, is warranted,” said Karen E. Knudsen, M.B.A, Ph.D., chief executive officer, American Cancer Society. “These findings can help inform efforts to minimize the patient economic burden of cancer, and specific estimates may be useful in studies of the cost-effectiveness of interventions related to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship care.”
According to the report, varying types of cancer greatly fluctuates how much out of pocket costs a patient will be facing, as out-of-pocket costs were highest for breast ($3.14 billion), prostate ($2.26 billion), colorectal ($1.46 billion), and lung ($1.35 billion) cancers, reflecting the higher prevalence of these cancers.
With developments and breakthroughs being made in cancer research every day, hopefully it is not too soon that we see this debt start to shrink and families get the help they need. In the meantime, here at the Diane Fund we are focused on providing families with both the monetary and intangible support that they need. While we provide aid in food and utility expenses, we also believe that the community support from others is just as helpful. Help us to provide the proper assistance to these families in need by donating today or following us on instagram @dianefund
For more information about the report, see: https://seer.cancer.gov/report_to_nation/.