A Third of Cancer Survivors Go into Debt
No one needs to be convinced that cancer is devastating to the body. Now a new study from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon suggests that it’s almost as hard on the wallet.
In fact, researchers found that one-third of working-age cancer survivors go into debt -- and 3 percent of those file for bankruptcy.
Cancer care costs have increased two to three times faster than other healthcare expenses in recent years in the U.S. Today the average monthly cost of a new cancer therapy agent is $10,000, and can be as high as $60,000.
Using 2012 survey data from 4,719 cancer survivors ages 18 to 64, the research team found that one-third had gone into debt because of cancer, and in more than half of those cases the debt was over $10,000.
The greatest immediate cost for those treated outside of the hospital is usually drugs, but surgeries, hospitalizations, and other medical fees can also result in large bills for patients. On top of that, cancer patients often must miss work, which can affect their income, as well as insurance coverage.
An earlier study found that family members of cancer patients sometimes had to work longer hours to make up for the loss in household income.
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