When a loved one is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it has a profound effect on their lives and their families’ lives. As quickly as the patient receives her diagnosis, her family members immediately slip into caregivers’ roles, often without warning or preparation. From the start, the impact of a diagnosis extends far beyond the patient, and it’s a complicated transition for everyone.
In an instant, spouses and older children often find themselves facing myriad responsibilities. While it’s certainly a labor of love, their new challenges often include transportation, housework, coordination of care, emotional support, meal prep, and money management, just to name a few. Today is undoubtedly different than yesterday.
But beyond the hardship of dealing with the disease itself and the stress of making rapid-fire healthcare decisions, ovarian cancer also creates an incredible financial burden. From deductibles and copays to other treatment-related costs that are not covered by insurance, and non-medical expenses like transportation, in-home healthcare, and child care, the cost can quickly add up. Throw in the possible loss of wages for days missed due to treatment, and the financial impact can be devastating.
Cancer Is Expensive
The unfortunate truth is that cancer is expensive. In fact, according to the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, cancer is one of the most costly diseases to treat, tipping the scales at $4 billion in out-of-pocket expenses.
To demonstrate that point a bit further, a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that Cancer diagnoses present a serious financial burden on the patient — and by default, their immediate family.
This study revealed that:
- Within 2 years of diagnosis, 42% of the 9.5 million cancer patients (age 50 and older diagnosed between 2000 – 2012) have all but depleted their assets, somewhere to the tune of 92,000.
- As much as 62% of patients were in debt as a result of their cancer care.
The Financial Strain Also Extends To Family Members
Beyond the patient’s financial burden stemming from direct care, ovarian cancer also creates a financial burden for family members. Very often, financial stress arises from the loss of employment income and benefits coupled with the rising cost of caregiving expenses.
Veritably, a 2014 study of primary caregivers of patients with advanced ovarian cancer, further illustrates this point. In the course of this study, caregivers were tasked with reporting various care factors, including the cost of traveling to and from medical appointments, missing work due to various caregiving duties, and attending to hospitalized patients.
At its conclusion, researchers determined that overall, caregivers reported missing 3% of work time, and the mean cost of caregiving amounted to 1,888,732 per year. It’s no wonder caregivers often find themselves straddling the line between love and hope and financial stress.
A Way Forward
While financial hardship seems to be par for the course, there are plenty of resources where families who have been touched by ovarian cancer can find financial help. One of those avenues for help is The Make A Difference Scholarship, made possible by a partnership between The Clearity Foundation and Select Justice. This scholarship offers women and others who have been directly impacted by ovarian cancer a chance to dream again.
Through the Make A Difference Scholarship, Select Justice has awarded $6,000 for the 2021 academic year to three lucky recipients. This partnership with the Clearity Foundation not only offers hope to those impacted by ovarian cancer — but it also offers them exciting opportunities for a tomorrow that’s filled with promise. Perhaps, more importantly, it serves as a reminder that there are brighter days ahead.