5 Financial Challenges for Childhood Cancer Survivors

5 Financial Challenges for Childhood Cancer Survivors

Here To Serve

Pediatric cancer patient smilingChildhood cancer is a devastating experience for families, with significant emotional, social, and financial costs. Childhood cancer is relatively rare, but it is the leading cause of disease-related death among children under the age of 15. 

The financial burden of childhood cancer can be overwhelming, and many families struggle to pay for treatment and care for several reasons.

  1. Insurance Coverage: Many families do not have adequate health insurance coverage to cover the costs associated with pediatric cancer. Even families with good insurance may still have to pay a considerable amount out of pocket for deductibles, co-pays, and other expenses. Families without health insurance are even more susceptible to the financial challenges, as pediatric cancer treatment costs will be astronomical.
  2. Lost Wages: Cancer treatment often requires extended hospital stays and frequent outpatient visits, which can lead to lost income for parents who need to take time off work to care for their child. This can be especially difficult for families who have only one income or who have limited paid time off from work.
  3. Home Modifications: Families may also need to pay for home modifications, such as wheelchair ramps or other adaptations, to accommodate their child’s needs. This brings a whole new level of financial stress for young families battling pediatric cancer with the seemingly insurmountable cost of treatment.
  4. Travel and Lodging: Families with a child diagnosed with cancer may need to pay for additional expenses, such as travel and lodging, if the child needs to receive treatment at a hospital far from home.
  5. Ongoing Expenses: The trauma of pediatric cancer has the potential to create more expenses down the line. This can include financial, physical, mental, and emotional challenges that will incur additional expenses in the future. 

Pediatric cancer patient waiting on a bench

Cost of cancer treatment has a huge impact on families’ lives. Many families report having to make difficult decisions about paying for treatment or food and other necessities to afford the cost of cancer. Some families may even be forced to rely on public assistance programs or declare bankruptcy to make ends meet.

The financial burden of childhood cancer is not just a short-term problem. Families may continue to experience financial difficulties even after their child has completed treatment. Children who have had cancer may require ongoing medical care and monitoring, which can be expensive. This has the potential to be an issue for the rest of their lives.

It is essential for policymakers and healthcare providers to work together to support families with a child diagnosed with cancer and to ensure that they have access to the resources they need to cope. Family and friends need to be there to support families battling pediatric cancer. Donating  to cancer nonprofits like Here to Serve allows your money to help support families at the most difficult time of their lives.

Author: Ned Swanson

A Board Member for Here to Serve, Dr. Ned Swanson has a unique background combining scientific, clinical, and industry knowledge. He is passionately dedicated to improving outcomes for patients across the entire patient journey, from therapeutic innovation to comprehensive social support. 

Information on the Here to Serve website is for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical guidance. All photos in this article are from the Here to Serve archive.

  1. American Cancer Society. Childhood Cancer: Facts & Figures 2020. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/childhood-cancer-facts-and-figures/childhood-cancer-facts-and-figures-2020-2022.pdf
  2. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Financial Burden of Childhood Cancer. https://www.stjude.org/treatment/patient-resources/financial-information/financial-burden-of-childhood-cancer.html
  3. Children’s Oncology Group. Childhood Cancer and the Cost of Care. https://www.childrensoncologygroup.org/index.php/new-family-resources/financial-resources/childhood-cancer-and-the-cost-of-care
  4. National Cancer Institute. Coping With Cancer: Financial, Legal, and Work Issues. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/adjusting-to-cancer/financial-legal-and-work-issues
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