What Cancer Patients Can Expect Financially
A prostate cancer diagnosis is never easy, especially when that diagnosis turns into a financial burden.
In order to try to avoid financial distress, it is important to understand the costs associated with treating prostate cancer.
When battling prostate cancer, some of your largest expenses are likely to come from the following: doctor visits, treatment, medication, and transportation/travel.
Doctor Visit Costs: If youre insured, youll likely only have to pay a copay per visit to your doctor the copay is usually a small fraction of the total overall cost for the visit. If youre uninsured, youll pay more.
Treatment Costs: Mild prostate cancer doesnt always require treatment right away however, if your cancer is more moderate to severe and your doctor has determined treatment is necessary, the most common method is surgical removal of the prostate gland and any surrounding tissue that may have become cancerous. Lymph nodes may also be removed, depending on the scope and spread of the cancer. Radiation is also commonly used as a form of treatment. The extent of your treatment will have a direct impact on the financial costs incurredin other words, the more treatment needed, the more it is likely to cost you.
Transportation/Travel Costs: If youre being treated at a facility that is not near your home, youll be met with the added financial stress of paying for gas and/or the costs of public transportation to get to and from your appointments.
General Prostate Cancer Survival Rate
According to the American Cancer Society:
- The relative 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%
- The relative 10-year survival rate is 98%
- The 15-year relative survival rate is 91%
Note: Relative survival rate means the percentage of patients who live amount of years after their initial diagnosis.
Keep in mind, however, that because the compiled list figures are of cancers diagnosed up to 15 years ago, you may have an even greater chance of survival than these indicate due to advances in prostate cancer treatment technology
How To Find Financial Aid And Advice
A diagnosis of cancer is never easy, but it can be even more stressful when youre struggling to pay for costly treatments and medications. For some patients, the financial burden is apparent at diagnosis, while for others, it builds up over the course of years of treatment. If youre not sure where to turn for financial help, read on: There are government, nonprofit, and private resources available-and people who can help you sort through the options.
Patients are often embarrassed to discuss financial issues, but they need to reach out. People to speak up before cancer becomes a tremendous financial crisis, says Jane Levy, the director of Patient Assistance Programs for CancerCare, a national patient advocacy and support organization.
One place to start is with government programs. Medicaid provides health insurance for low-income individuals and families who meet its requirements. Since Medicaid laws vary from state to state, youll want to visit the Medicaid website to learn how the program operates in your state, says Levy. Patients with cancer may also qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Not all cancer patients are considered disabled, but those with advanced cancer are sometimes considered disabled by Social Securitys definition.
Additional organizations to contact about financial aid or advice include:
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Help With Toilet Needs
The National Key Scheme offers people with a disability, including cancer, access to public disabled toilets across the UK. You can buy a RADAR from Disability Rights UK or call 0203 687 0790.
In Northern Ireland, you can also buy these keys at any local council office.
The Macmillan toilet card
Cancer treatment can affect the way the bowel or bladder works. Macmillan can send you a free toilet card and key ring. These explain why you may need to access a toilet urgently while out in public. We have a general version, and one for people who are experiencing late side effects after pelvic radiotherapy. Visit be.macmillan.org.uk and search for toilet card to order these free resources.
Take Into Account Lost Wages From Time Off Work
Consider how much time youll have to take off of work for treatment and to speak to your HR department about how much you need to work to keep your health insurance coverage. Learn how to protect yourself in your workplacehave conversations and ask clarifying questions about your benefits beyond insurance with your HR department, including either short or long-term disability.
To provide an idea of what you could expect, a 2006 study by the Department of Health Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University found that women treated for breast cancer missed an average of 44.5 days of work, and men diagnosed with prostate cancer missed an average of 27 days. Overall, oncology patients are likely to miss 22 more days of work per year compared to employees who arent battling cancer.
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Gift Certificates Gas Cards And More
When dealing with prostate cancer, the last thing you should have to worry about is the price of gas however, as trips to treatment centers increase, so does the cost of transportation. Gas can be EXPENSIVE so why pay for it if you dont have to?
The Zero Drive Transportation Program offers $300 debit cards to patients in need of help with transportation costs. To be eligible, you must reside in one of the following states: Florida, Texas, New York, Iowa, or Pennsylvania.
If you dont live in any of those states mentioned above, dont be discouraged! There are plenty of region-specific financial resources available for patients in need. Check out NeedyMeds and Mercy Medical Angels, these sites can help you to find assistance for medical transportation and necessary travel expenses.
Lastly, Netwish is a great nonprofit organization committed to helping those in need of extra assistance they offer one-time gift cards of $200 that can be used however the patient sees fit. So what are you waiting for? Go snag yours today.
A Note About Sex And Gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .
- neuroendocrine tumors
Experts believe some males can also have a mixed type, which combines a common and a rare type of prostate cancer. Rare forms of prostate cancer are more likely to metastasize.
Prostate cancer overall is the second most common cancer in males after skin cancer. Doctors discover most prostate cancers in the prostate or nearby tissues. However, about 16% of new cases spread into distant locations.
Between 2012 and 2018, about more cases of prostate cancer occurred in the United States.
Research has shown the incidence of prostate cancer for African American males is that of people who are white. Among African Americans, the cancer types tend to be more aggressive, and deaths are double compared with white Americans.
The differences in outcomes for African American males may originate from:
- Physical: Higher prostate-specific antigen levels in the blood.
- Genetic: Some African American males carry certain gene mutations or chromosomal abnormalities that can increase prostate cancer risk.
- Environmental: Social disparities may cause people from historically marginalized groups to live on a lower income and have limited access to healthy food.
- Social: Disparities in healthcare can limit genetic screening or disease treatment access, leading to underdiagnosis.
Other people should begin screening at the age of 50.
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How Does Fundraising For Prostate Cancer Work
The fundraising process with our nonprofit starts with a few simple steps:
Financial Assistance For Cancer Patients: It Pays To Ask
Even with private health insurance, government programs, and nonprofit grants, help for cancer patients to pay billsis still very much needed. If youre having trouble voicing your financial concerns to your insurance provider or health care professional, here are some easy ways to bring up the subject as you develop your treatment plan:
- Im worried about how much cancer treatment will cost. What resources are available to me?
- I know this may be expensive. Where can I go to get an idea of the total costs of treatment?
- Will my health insurance pay for this treatment? How much of the total cost will it cover?
- Im concerned about the cost of this treatment. Are there other treatment options you would recommend that are less expensive?
If you have questions about cancer financial assistance programs specific to you, speak with your doctor or hospital social workerthe hospital business office should have helpful information and additional relief resources. Dont be afraid to askyou deserve education regarding all the financial assistance options available to you. You can also seek help from other organizations that help cancer patients financially in your area.
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Medication And Treatment Cost Assistance
Medication assistance programs grid for patients , which is compiled, updated, and generously provided by Wendalyn Andrews, Practice Manager, Division of Hematology/Oncology, The University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, Arizona.
The Assist Fund provides financial support to chronically ill patients with high-cost medications.
Good Days provides financial support by covering co-pays for those with life-altering conditions.
NeedyMeds.com is dedicated to helping people locate assistance programs to help them afford their medications and other healthcare costs.
Patient Advocate Foundationâs Co-Pay Relief , this program provides direct financial assistance to qualified individuals for out-of-pocket medication copayment and coinsurance expenses.
Medicine Assistance Tool helps qualifying patients who lack prescription drug coverage obtain the medications they need.
The Patient Access Network Foundation assists patients with out-of-pocket costs associated with their treatment.
Patient Services, Inc. provides assistance with insurance premiums and co-payments for people with chronic diseases.
RxHope.com helps patients obtain free or low-cost prescription medications.
Benefits Of Using A Meal Delivery Services For Cancer Patients
Using a meal kit delivery service has a wide variety of benefits when youre dealing with exhausting cancer treatment.
Ease of Use
The ease of use relating to the meals is probably the most prominent benefit. You can create fantastic nutritious and healthy meals in a matter of minutes due to everything being pre-prepared for you. This can save you a lot of time and effort in the kitchen, leaving you more free time for rest.
No More Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
On top of that, you no longer have to concern yourself with planning the meals you would like to have or even go grocery shopping every week. Fresh, high-quality products or meals are delivered to you every week, eliminating the need for these time-consuming and mundane food-related tasks.
Balanced and Health-Centric Meals
The meals you are provided with are also balanced and have all the necessary nutrients you might require, especially as a cancer patient. The meals are portion-sized and contain the highest quality ingredients, ensuring that you receive only the best meals.
Varying Your Meals
Meal delivery services supply home meals that feel like restaurant-quality food, with a diverse menu that keeps changing every week.
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Prescription Assistance / Patient Assistance Programs
- Resources to assist patients with their prescription drug costs and correlate options with primary insurance status.
- Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy Patient Advocacy Navigator Assists patients with funding to off-set high co-payments and provides access to pharmacists, nurses and oncology patient navigators on staff to answer questions about medications.
- Low-Income Medicare Subsidy for Prescription Drugs (Eligible patients may be able to access brand-name drugs for less than $10 per month. to read more
- Needy Meds a 5013 non-profit information resource for assistance programs to help pay for medications and other expenses related to health care and provides free access to online databases for Patient assistance programs, disease-based assistance, free and low-cost clinics, government programs and other types of assistance programs. Also has resources for patient advocates.
- Provides programs that may help pay for medicines like Zometa® , and/or provide access to drugs still in clinical trial. See brochure for more information.
- may offer instant savings on your ZYTIGA® medication costs
Financial Assistance For Men With Prostate Cancer
Following are national financial assistance programs for people diagnosed with prostate cancer. Additional local and state resources may be available.
- Angel Foundation offers financial assistance that helps prostate cancer patients with nonmedical living expenses, such as food, gas, utilities, and rent or mortgage payments.
- Zero Cancer offers financial support, like copay assistance and a comprehensive list of free prostate cancer test centers in the U.S.
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Pay Attention To Cancer Drug Costs And Rules
Its important to be aware that there are also numerous rules affiliated with cancer medicines that can result in large bills that patients have to cover. For example, some insurance plans require patients to receive drugs mailed from a specialty pharmacy. The patient is then responsible for bringing the drug to the care facility to receive their treatment. If the patient does not bring their own medicine and the care facility has to provide medicine, the cost for providing that medicine could be astronomical. Its best to double-check with your insurance provider to know exactly what legal steps you should be taking to make sure that you dont get stuck with a big bill after treatment.
Community Fundraising And Crowdfunding
Community fundraising and crowdfunding are other mechanisms well worth considering. Many people find that friends, family, and social networks are more than eager to contribute financially if they are aware of a difficult situation.
Online fundraising websites like GoFundMe are frequently used for these kinds of campaigns, allowing families to cull wider support using social media channels.
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Programs And Resources To Help With Cancer
The major costs of a cancer diagnosis and treatment are for things like time in the hospital, clinic visits, medicines, tests, surgeries and procedures, home health services, and services of doctors and other professionals. Insurance, managed care, or public health care programs pay most of these costs if you are covered by such a plan.
If you dont have health insurance coverage, see our information on what kind of insurance or help you may be able to get. Health insurance is key if you or your child need cancer treatment. But there are also many indirect costs or other expenses when you or your child has cancer, along with their usual bills. These costs can be for things you still might be able to get help with from other sources.
For hands-on help, theres no substitute for a social worker or navigator who works with your community and knows it well. They can suggest resources to help with healthcare, transportation, lodging, food and other needs. Find one through your cancer doctor or nurse.
Cancer costs can increase for many reasons such as:
- If cancer treatment is extended or changed
- If complications develop
- If the cancer comes back
Cancer treatment also can cause family members to lose time at work and, in some cases, all or part of their salary .
Most families find it hard to turn to others or to public agencies and outside groups for financial help. The extra expenses of cancer may be the first time a family has had problems with money.
Avoncares Assistance For Women Facing Cancer
AVONCares Assistance for Women Facing Cancer is a program managed by CancerCare that provides financial assistance to low-income, underinsured, and underserved women throughout the United States. Support services include transportation, childcare, and home care to improve the lives of those undergoing treatment for breast cancer or cervical cancer.
Cancer type: Breast or cervical cancer
Who it’s for: Underserved women
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Does Insurance Cover Proton Therapy For Prostate Cancer
Proton beam radiation therapy is an alternative to traditional radiation that may reduce the chance of damage to healthy tissues near the tumor for some patients and reduce pain. Since the prescribed treatment of proton therapy is more costly than traditional radiation,many health insurance companies do not cover the cost. As a result, prostate cancer patients and families interested in this form of therapy may be responsible for the associated costs out-of-pocket.
Help With Housing Needs Or Mortgage Payments When You Have Cancer
The extra costs of cancer treatment or a major loss of family income may make it hard for families to pay their mortgage or rent on time. To keep a good credit rating and stay in your home, talk with your creditor or landlord about your situation and try to make special arrangements. Family, friends, or church members may be able to give you short-term help if theyre told about the problem. Talk about your situation with the cancer treatment team social worker who may know of special resources.
Families who need to move out of their homes after a cancer diagnosis should talk with their county department of social services to find out if they can get into low-cost or government-supported housing programs. In some states this may be listed under the health department or welfare department.
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How Prostate Cancer Staging Is Done
Initial staging is based on the results of PSA blood tests, biopsies, and imaging tests. This is also called clinical staging.
PSA refers to a protein made by the prostate measured by a lab test.
- A higher level of PSA can indicate a more advanced cancer.
- The doctors will also look at how fast the PSA levels have been increasing from test to test. A faster increase could show a more aggressive tumor.
A prostate biopsy is done in your doctors office. The results can indicate:
- How much of the prostate is involved.
- The Gleason score. A number from 2 to 10 that shows how closely the cancer cells look like normal cells when viewed under a microscope. Scores 6 or less suggest the cancer is slow growing and not aggressive. Higher numbers indicate a faster growing cancer that is more likely to spread.