Financial toxicity in young adult cancer patients

Young couple looking at a laptop in their kitchen going over finances

Even with good health insurance coverage, the bills can pile up quickly

Cancer is an incredibly expensive fight. Beyond cancer’s emotional cost, extreme financial burdens can accompany this journey. Even if you have good health insurance coverage, the bills can pile up quickly, leaving you feeling more stressed in an already very stressful situation. You might decide to cut back on groceries and find ways to stretch every dollar.

Between healthcare costs like prescriptions, copays and coinsurance, the time off from work where you are unable to make a steady income, and the struggle to make rent or pay the mortgage or your electric bill, you might feel significant anxiety surrounding money through your cancer treatments and beyond. This specific money-related distress is referred to as financial toxicity.

What is financial toxicity?

Financial toxicity is a phrase used to describe financial anxiety and distress you might experience related to healthcare costs following a cancer diagnosis.

According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the average cost for the first year of cancer care was just over $41,000 in the US in 2020. This number can vary greatly depending on what kind of cancer you have, and what treatments your oncology team have prescribed. For example, prostate cancer patients had an annual average cost of $71,000, compared with the average cost of $239,000 for patients facing acute myeloid leukemia.

For older adults who have had the opportunity to stabilize their finances, this cost is difficult. But for young adults, who are still getting on their feet and establishing their careers, the cost can very easily upend the rest of their lives. Older adults likely have savings and other ways of producing the money they need to afford cancer treatments, but what about young adults who have not yet built their financial safety net?

How can I avoid financial toxicity during my cancer treatments?

The most important factor in avoiding cancer-related financial toxicity is to have adequate health insurance. For many reasons this might not be possible, however, just because you are underinsured does not mean that you cannot get help with the bills that might be piling up.

Roswell Park has an entire team dedicated to helping patients navigate the financial landscape of medical care. Visit our website or call financial services at 716-845-4872 to see what options you might have.

How Roswell Park can help

If you are worried about the cost of your cancer treatments, know that you are not alone. Cancer treatments are expensive — but there is help available to you. Roswell Park has a number of services designed to help cancer patients overcome each battle they face. Whether it’s an issue of prescription costs or psychological distress, tell your doctor what you are experiencing, and they can help set you up with the right team to help you.

Remember that we are here for you.

Roswell Park offers services across a wide range of issues you might face during your cancer treatments and beyond.

Learn more about support services