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Debt relief necessary for high number of cancer survivors

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can lead to difficult and overwhelming emotional responses from patients. Many worry about their chance of survival, treatment options and breaking the news to friends and family. All of these are understandable concerns for cancer patients in Louisiana, but unfortunately they also tend to have another worry on their minds -- debt relief.

The price of health care can be daunting for even minor illnesses, but cancer treatments take the cost of life-saving treatment to an entirely different level. Cancer treatments can range anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 every single month. Treatments typically last months at a time, essentially rewarding cancer survivors with a big, fat bill after undergoing what might have been the most intense battle of their lives.

According to a research from 2012, approximately 33 percent of cancer survivors between 18 and 64 years of age end up going into debt from their treatments. The debt incurred from treatment tends to be severe, with over half of survivors on the hook for more than $10,000 even with insurance. That study reaffirmed what other research has already established -- that cancer treatments put survivors at a high risk for financial burdens in the future.

Becoming sick or developing a life-threatening illness should not automatically result in a lifelong financial burden, especially when diseases such as cancer are often unavoidable. While politicians attempt to affect change in the world of health care, rising prices put many Louisiana patients in the uncomfortable position of debating whether they can afford to seek necessary treatment. Currently, one of the best options for debt relief is to file for bankruptcy, an action that cancer survivors take twice as often as their healthier peers.

Source: Fox News, "For working-age cancer survivors, debt and bankruptcy are common", Jan. 6, 2016

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