Lack of money may adversely impact health of cancer patients, says AARP article
Surviving cancer may depend on what's in your savings account.
At least that's the conclusion of an article by Peter Moore in an edition of "AARP: The Magazine" a while back.
The piece suggests that average costs for the disease "run in the $150,000 range."
Why so much?
Moore postulates that "containing the cancer and killing [the] abnormal cells without damaging nearby healthy cells often requires a range of treatments, over an extended period of time — lengthy radiation, complicated surgeries, costly chemotherapy, plus other strong medications to supercharge your immunity."
Although new treatments emerge with regularity, he writes, "with new hope comes even more cost: 11 or the 12 cancer drugs that the Food and Drug Administration approved in [a recent year] were priced at more than $100,000 [annually.]"
Even with a good insurance policy, "a patient is probably looking at a bill of more than $4,000 in deductibles and co-pays."
Patients, of course, must often cope as well with "loss of income during months of treatment and recovery," not to mention travel and lodging expenses "at a cancer-centric health facility."
Plus the costs of myriad follow-up tests.
Moore notes that "not only are cancer patients two and a half times as likely to declare bankruptcy as healthy people, but those patients who go bankrupt are 80 percent more likely to die from the disease than other cancer patients, according to studies from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle."
|Dr. Gary Lyman|
Moore entertains the idea that many patients don't discuss their financial fears with their doctors, fearing such action could "compromise their treatment."
The result of that silence and fears, or from a patient lying because he or she couldn't afford to follow a prescribed regimen?
"Doctors [don't] know that their patients might take their pills less often than prescribed [and/or] avoid follow-up therapies or tests."
More details about what else impacts cancer patients psychologically can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.