The true lifetime financial impact of having cancer is not known, and varies from person to person. Some of the main concerns we hear about are: women without insurance who are asked to pay for their treatment, the cost of time lost from work due to doctor’s appointments, and the cost of co-pays and medications. You may also have to pay for childcare during treatment or doctor’s visits that you normally wouldn’t have needed. All of these things add up over time. Additionally, the impact of your diagnosis and treatment may affect your ability to work. We have heard from many women who have to reduce their hours, take time off, change jobs, or stop working all together. The financial implications of this to a woman and her family can be profound. Thankfully most women are able to resume working their normal schedule after allowing their body time to heal and rest. If you continue to work, there are some things that you can do to help manage some of the side effects of treatment and cancer:
· Talk to your supervisor about managing your schedule around your treatments, and ask for accommodations if you need more frequent breaks. Most people are willing to work with you if you talk to them about finding a solution that works for you both.
· Some people find it hard to remember things as clearly as they did before their diagnosis, so taking notes in meetings and keeping a calendar of appointments may help. Check out this video on chemo brain!
· Be realistic about how you’re feeling and how you are able to work. Most people can resume their normal activities after completing treatment, while some continue working as they always have. Every person is different, and that is OK.
Our Finances and our Work and Insurance tip sheets discuss some things you can do to be proactive as well as offers some resources that offer help if you need it. Don’t be afraid to be realistic about your financial needs and to seek help when you need it. Most doctor’s offices and hospitals are willing to work with you to create a payment plan if you need it, and most have access to a social worker who may be able to help you locate and use additional resources.
Locally, you can access help by checking out the Financial Resources in your area or by contacting FORGE Breast Cancer Survivor Center at 1-800-811-8925 or firstname.lastname@example.org