The major expenses of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment are for the hospital, medical consultations, medications, tests, surgeries, procedures, home health services and fees of medical professionals. Health insurance, managed care, and public health programs pay most of these costs if you are covered by that plan.
If you don't have
health insurance coverage, see our information on what kind of insurance or help you may also be able to get. Health insurance is key if you or your child require cancer treatment. But there are also many indirect costs or other expenses when you or your child has cancer, in addition to the usual bills. These costs may be for items that could still be covered if appropriate help is obtained from other sources.
For practical advice, there is nothing better than going to a social worker who works in your community, and who is very familiar with it. Find one through your cancer doctor or nurse.
Cancer-related costs can increase for many reasons, such as:
- If cancer treatment is prolonged or modified
- If complications arise
- If the cancer comes back
Most families find it difficult to turn to other people or public agencies or outside entities for financial help. The additional expenses of cancer can put a family in financial difficulty for the first time.
Here are some tips that may be helpful with some of the costs associated with cancer treatment.
Help with short-term housing near the cancer treatment center
Sometimes cancer treatment is available far from home. Many treatment centers have short-term housing facilities or discount programs through agreements with nearby motels and hotels. The clinical social worker or oncology nurse may be knowledgeable about low-cost accommodations during treatment at the hospital or clinic.
The American Cancer Society's Shelter Of Hope® program can offer families free housing when the treatment center is far from home. Contact us to find out if there is an Albergue De La Esperanza near your treatment center.
Another option for adults or children with cancer is to go to the Healthcare Hospitality Network . This group of nearly 200 nonprofit organizations across the US offers free or low-cost housing to families who have to travel long distances to a treatment center. You can contact this group at 1-800-542-9730 oro see if they have a location that might benefit you.
Many treatment centers also have other short-term lodging options, as well as discount deals with nearby motels and hotels. The clinical social worker or oncology nurse may make recommendations for low-cost accommodations during treatment at the hospital or clinic.
Kids with cancer. Because childhood cancer is relatively rare, childhood cancer treatment often requires traveling to a pediatric treatment center. Many of these treatment centers have a Ronald McDonald House nearby. These homes offer free or low-cost housing for patients and their immediate families. They are designed to provide a welcome moment for any family with a seriously ill child, not just those with limited resources.
Although they are partly financed by McDonald's Children's Charities , each house has its own administration, establishes its own admission regulations and is managed under its own rules. Ask the nurse or social worker at your cancer center for more information, or contact Ronald McDonald House Charities at 630-623-7048 or www.rmhc.org . Families must be referred by the medical staff or social worker to the treatment center.