Closing the Door on Cancer Care Debt

Mike Hennessy, Sr.

It’s no surprise that cancer care comes with a large price tag. However, it’s not always obvious at the time of treatment how much the disease, its management and the lasting effects will financially affect someone well into survivorship.

Drug prices can skyrocket from $10,000 a month or higher for more advanced therapies, such as immunotherapy. And patients must consider out-of-pocket expenses for side effect management and travel, among other costs. Factor in a person’s financial situation prior to cancer — existing debt, single-person income — and it all adds up.

We have heard from many Heal® readers of their money hardships, such as trying to recover from the piles of medical bills, being unable to work after cancer and even losing their home because they were drowning in medical debt.

In our cover story, we focus on cancer’s financial toxicity, sharing the stories of two survivors who found a way to get back on their feet. We offer advice on how to get started yourself, perhaps with a phone call to a social worker or a nonprofit organization. You are not alone as you try to regroup from the disease and its financial toll.

Also inside, Katie Couric opens up about losing her first husband and sister to cancer, recovering after her world turned upside down and taking steps to keep her two young daughters as “healthy and whole as possible.” As a cancer advocate, Couric also discusses the new initiative that she is working with to help connect patients, survivors and caregivers with others who are facing a similar experience.

Finally, our Taste for Wellness section steps into “The Living Kitchen.” Meet the two women behind a new cookbook that offers healing recipes to boost recovery during and after cancer. We share three recipes that can help beat side effects, including a chocolate mousse dessert with an unexpected ingredient.

Also covered in these pages: hypnosis for pain relief, the use of complementary therapies, opioid trends in cancer survivors and why attitude can make all the difference.

We hope you find both practical information and everyday inspiration, and, as always, thank you for reading.
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