Breast cancer happens to be the second leading type of cancer in the US after skin cancers. Based on the report by the American Cancer Society (2011), there were 230,480 women with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer, and there were 40,000 deaths. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths after lung cancer.
Lifetime costs of breast cancer range from $20,000 to $100,000; stage of breast cancer determines the cost incurred by patients. About $22,000 is associated with early breast cancer, whilst stages 3 and 4 cost about $120,000. Average direct cost of breast cancer is found to be $2896 per patient per month.
Indirect cost due to productivity loss and mortality are much higher with 89% of all breast cancer costs being indirect costs.
Financial burden of breast cancer can be overwhelming, more so if you are uninsured or are unemployed. Thankfully, there are ways to receive financial assistance.
Where to find financial support for breast cancer patients
Below is a list of helpful resources:
You may receive health care assistance (medical care, prescription drugs and other medical items) through one of the following services:
Cancer Resource Foundation (www.cancer1source.org/genetic-testing-programs) – provides financial assistance for BRCA1/2 genetic testing.
CancerCare – Co-payment Assistance Foundation (www.cancercarecopay.org) offers copay assistance to breast cancer patients undergoing some types of chemotherapy and targeted therapy.
CancerCare – Linking A.R.M.S.™ (http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information) provides financial assistance towards some medications, medical equipment and lymphedema.
Medicare (www.medicare.gov) has prescription drug plans to help its recipients.
Myriad Financial Assistance Program (https://ms360.myriad.com/genetic-testing/insurance/) provides financial assistance for genetic testing of breast cancer.
NeedyMeds.com (www.needymeds.com) has a comprehensive list of pharmaceutical assistance programs.
Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation (www.panfoundation.org/) provides copay assistance for prescription drugs for patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Patient Advocate Foundation – Co-Pay Relief Program (www.copays.org) provides copay assistance towards prescription drug costs.
Patient Advocate Foundation –Financial Aid Fund (www.patientadvocate.org) provides financial help for medical equipment, lymphedema care, transportation to and from treatment, child care and elder care during treatment, breast prosthesis and wigs.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA; www.pparx.org/) offers free drugs or drugs at low cost to patients with inadequate resources.
Financial support for breast cancer patients for transportation
You may receive help towards local transportation from:
American Cancer Society – Road to Recovery (www.cancer.org)
CancerCare – AVONCares Program (http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information)
CancerCare – Linking A.R.M.S.™ (http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information)
Patient Advocate Foundation – Financial Aid Fund (www.patientadvocate.org) provide local transportation to and from cancer treatments.
You may receive help with long-distance transportation from:
Air Charity Network (www.aircharitynetwork.org)
Lifeline Pilots (www.lifelinepilots.org/)
Mercy Medical Airlift (www.mercymedical.org/)
National Patient Travel Center (www.patienttravel.org)
Raquel’s Wings for Life (www.raquelswingsforlife.com) offer air travel to treatment centers for cancer patients and their caregivers.
Corporate Angel Network (www.corpangelnetwork.org) uses empty seats on corporate aircraft to help cancer patients reach treatment centers.
Where to get lodging financial support for breast cancer patients
You can get help with lodging from:
American Cancer Society – Hope Lodge (www.cancer.org/) provides lodging for families during cancer treatment.
Where to get elderly care assistance for financial support for breast cancer patients
You can get help towards child care and elder care assistance from:
CancerCare – AVONCares Program (http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information) and CancerCare – Linking A.R.M.S.™( http://www.cancercare.org/financial/information) provide financial assistance for child care.
Patient Advocate Foundation – Financial Aid Fund (www.patientadvocate.org) provides financial assistance for child care and elder care during treatment.
Financial help for patients and families: https://www.patientresource.com/financial_resources.aspx
How to find financial assistance: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/FinancialResources.html
Financial assistance: http://www.touchedbycancer.org/cancer-resources/financial-assistance/