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Cancer patients often face financial ruin

There really isn't any reason why a person who is diagnosed with cancer should burn through their entire life assets just to get the treatment they need. Unfortunately, this is a reality for about half of the cancer patients in this country. The cost of treatments, even for those with medical insurance, is so high that it can often force patients to choose between getting the care they need and paying for life's necessities.

The sharp increase in bills comes at a time when the patient is likely having to take off work or cut back on the number of hours they are working. This can mean that something has to go unpaid. When the medical expenses can be billed to the patient, they might be able to get away with making smaller monthly payments. But not all medical bills can be handled this way since some facilities require upfront payments.

The medical debts sometimes lead the person to file for bankruptcy. A look at some statistics shows that once a person files for bankruptcy, they are more likely to pass away from cancer if they have prostate, breast, colorectal or lung cancer. In the case of people who have colorectal, the mortality risk is about 2.5 times that for those who filed bankruptcy than those who didn't.

The money impact that comes with cancer is known as financial toxicity by some. It is believed that this might lead some patients to seek care at underfunded hospitals, which might increase their risk of becoming the victim of medical errors.

Cancer is the second-most costliest disease to treat in the U.S. The only one that ranks above it is heart disease. The cost of the chemotherapy drugs and other newer treatments can sometimes mean that only the wealthier individuals are able to get the care they need. Some who are able to pay for the treatment end up in financial ruin.

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