Finding Stability

Managing Cancer Survivorship Costs and Concerns

Cancer survivorship and follow-up medical costs can be managed via several options and basic logistics. Careful planning, reorganizing and self-advocacy all lend to decreased costs and help you reach financial stability.

Cancer survivorship and remission, of course, are cause for celebration. The economic impact, however, can be daunting. While seeking treatment, budgeting may slip you mind and medical costs can sneak up on you. However, residual cancer-care costs don’t have to cause hardship. There are things you can do to manage the costs of your follow-up cancer care.

The remission phase still entails various appointments, such as labs, MRIs, consults and medication costs. During remission, it’s important not only to recuperate but to find financial stability, as well. So, show cancer who’s boss! Here are some ideas that can help you manage ongoing medical costs and bring you peace of mind throughout remission.

Coordinate Logistics to Save Fuel Costs

It can feel a bit overwhelming to manage all the necessary follow-up care appointments. The time, the bills and calendar management all take a toll. But with some careful planning, you can coordinate the logistics of your appointment schedule to reduce travel time and fuel costs. Request your follow-up visits to coincide with previously scheduled appointments for related care. By compiling these visits into one day, you can to better manage energy, fuel consumption, vehicle wear and tear and meal costs. Also, check in with your care team to see if you can visit them in your cancer center rather than an off-site office location. This way you can schedule appointments in one spot, saving you trips (and thus expenses).

Work with a Social Worker or Case Manager

Medical bills can quickly pile up and suffocate your budget, but a social worker can help file for financial assistance on your behalf, getting you some much-needed aid. Often chock-full of ideas and resources, oncology social workers and case managers will tailor your resolutions around your individual situation.

Seek out Pharma Programs for Medication Costs

Follow-up cancer care means filling many prescriptions to manage pain, quell nausea or boost your physiology. Whether you pay these residual costs via insurance copays or totally out-of-pocket, there are ways to offset the monetary impacts. Some facilities, like the UVA Cancer Center, have on-site pharmacies, saving you the time and expense of going elsewhere. Also, many pharmaceutical companies have programs offering discounted or free medications.

You can ask your oncology social worker to see what programs are available to you. You should also consider ordering your prescriptions in bulk (90-day supply instead of three 30-day supplies), reducing your trips to the pharmacy.

Innovative Income Streams for Employment Issues

Residual cancer care appointments often chew into your work schedules, and you may run out of sick time and vacation hours. Don’t be afraid to ask your employer if telecommuting is an option. Some offices will allow you to work from my home, either doing your previous duties or helping support the office with administrative tasks like data entry. Also, if you have another career interest or hobby, you could launch a money-making enterprise from your home, too.

By employing any of the above ideas, you can diminish post-cancer costs. No matter what your savings looks like, there are options out there to help you deal with your remission costs so you can enjoy cancer survivorship.

A good social worker can help you manage and deal with the financial and emotional issues cancer causes.

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Stephen Owsinski
Stephen Owsinski