When you are first told you have breast cancer, your thoughts can immediately turn to your mortality and how to best save your life. You worry about how your diagnosis will affect your family, spouse or kids. More and more, the realities of the disease begin to set in and the impact it can have on your finances becomes more apparent.
A common misconception in Canada is that the cost of cancer treatment doesn’t immediately affect us. The reality is, cancer can have a huge impact on a person’s finances. Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits offer some relief if you need to take time off work. But you only get a portion of your income and often for a shorter time than the length of your treatment. Factor in costs for parking, wigs, prostheses, or prescription drug costs and things add up quickly.
The economic impact of breast cancer is an issue CBCN cares deeply about. Breast cancer is hard enough; you shouldn’t have to worry about your finances as well. Here are a few of the key recommendations from our new report on the Economic Impact of Breast Cancer, an update to our 2010 report.
- Lengthen E.I. coverage: 15 weeks is just not enough time for most treatment schedules.
- Provide coverage for out of pocket costs: Prostheses can be expensive, and every woman deserves the opportunity to feel her best after treatment.
- Help navigate available coverage: Many opportunities are missed because patients don’t know they exist.
- Shorten wait times: No patient should have to delay their treatment because they are waiting for approvals.
- Offer more accommodating work environments: Returning to work is tough and easing back in can help ensure she or he can contribute effectively.
We’ve started addressing these financial needs with the launch of our FinancialNavigator, a database to help you find programs and resources to offset the financial burden of a breast cancer diagnosis. It also has information to help you prepare for changes to your finances. We will continue voicing these important issues at every opportunity so that patients can worry less about their finances and focus more on their health and wellbeing.