Blog | Thursday, February 5, 2009

Helping patients manage high cost of cancer care


More cancer patients are surviving their disease but finding that recovery, too, exacts a high price. According to research presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research conference, many survivors--even those with health insurance--forgo needed medical care due to cost, Reuters reported. According to National Cancer Institute researchers, the prevalence of neglecting care for financial reasons was 7.8% for general medical care, 9.9% for prescription medication, 11.3% for dental care, and 2.7% for mental health care.

In light of those findings, it's fitting that American Society of Clinical Oncology has come out with practical financial guidance for cancer patients. The group's Cancer.Net Web site now has a section about managing the cost of cancer care, including suggested questions to ask your doctor and other professionals. Beyond the strictly medical treatment and medication-related questions, the site lists issues to consider surrounding transportation, living expenses, long-term care and employment issues, for example, as well as a list of organizations that offer financial support to cancer patients.

It's a nice resource for physicians to recommend to patients burdened by financial worries related to their illness.