Cost of surviving cancer: Financial burden can build for patients

National and World
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(CNN Newsource) – Cancer. The word you never want to hear. If you or a loved one win the battle, it feels like a brand new start. But for many, part of the burden continues as all of those medical bills keep coming.

Just about everyone who has experienced an illness of some sort knows doctors and medication can cost a lot. You can blow through a couple hundred dollars just trying to treat an infection.

But what about prolonged and invasive treatments for cancer? What are the costs then?

According to a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-quarter of cancer survivors say they have trouble paying their medical bills. They had to borrow money, accrue debt or file for bankruptcy.

A third said just worrying about their medical costs caused psychological distress.

The average out-of-pocket spending each year for patients post-cancer was about $1,000 compared to $662 for those without a cancer history.

One theory as to why these bills keep piling up is that cancer survivors are more likely to utilize the health care system.

Experts say it’s important cancer patients talk to their health care and insurance providers before starting treatment to understand what they will be facing financially. This can help the patient create a plan going forward.

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