One of the major concerns, when one diagnosed with cancer, is the cost factor involved with the treatment. Unfortunately, cancer is a very expensive treatment and requires a substantial amount of investment. Hence the worry this brings along with it is understandable however one which can also be solved efficiently. The situation can become highly sensitive when the patient is the bread earner of the family or a young employed professional who is dependent on him or herself.

So here is what you can do:

  • Equip yourself and discuss all costs with the medical team.
  • Have a ballpark figure and add a buffer amount.
  • Once you have your accounts listed, it’s always advisable to involve a financial professional, accountant, or anyone you know who comes from a finance background and can help in jotting down numbers and planning for unforeseen expenses.

“In this situation, planning, evaluating and tracking is the answer. Although this might seem like an ordeal for you at this point, especially if you’re not much a routine, diligent person with numbers, it will be the most important thing you do for yourself in terms of your expenses incurred during treatment.”

If finance is a constraint then you need to budget, in fact, you need to budget no matter what. So, create a monthly budget and track your expenses. If you’re employed, try to explore whether your company can provide any benefits which could be monetary or any other way that can lead to a decrease in your overall expenses. And last but certainly not least, always look for medical cost alternatives. There are times that certain drugs are available at different prices and this can really benefit you now. There is no harm in doing your research on this matter. Always stay well planned and be of the mindset that expenses could vary, so be ahead of it.

How do I manage my finances?

The financial impact of cancer is different for each person and will depend on the cancer type, stage and treatment, as well as your financial situation before the diagnosis.

If you are struggling financially, talk to your doctor. They may suggest ways to reduce your treatment costs, or they might be able to keep seeing you as a public patient. Your doctor can refer you to a social worker or welfare officer for additional advice. If you are experiencing financial hardship, take action early to deal with the situation. The longer you wait, the more worrying the debts will become.

How to deal with financial stress

People with cancer have to manage the cost of treatment, but also the income lost from taking time off work. They may have difficulty balancing their budget, possibly for the first time in their lives and some can be tipped into a financial crisis.

This financial stress adds to the worry of being diagnosed with cancer and may feel overwhelming. For some people, it can lead to depression, anxiety and conflict with family members.

If you have continued feelings of sadness, have trouble getting up in the morning or have lost motivation to do things that previously gave you pleasure, you may be experiencing depression. This is quite common among people who have had cancer.

“Getting help with your finances can take a great weight off your mind, but if you are finding it hard to cope emotionally, check whether you can talk to a psychologist or social worker at your cancer care centre.”

When cancer affects your finances, seeing a professional for advice can help. Whether you should see a financial counsellor or financial planner will depend on your circumstances.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are of the writer only.

Samara Mahindra

Founder & CEO of CARER
CARER works with cancer patients, caregivers, survivors, and specialists to prevent and help cancer patients. To know more about Carer (Cancer Prevention & Therapy Experts), please visit here.

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