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Someone with a head full of bills considers a lit match

Blood Cancer Anxieties: Financial Stress

In this series, we discuss causes of anxiety for those facing a physical illness like blood cancer and its side effects. Phrases in quotes are the words of our community members across various conditions on what it’s like to deal with these anxieties.

When we asked our communities about their biggest anxieties, money matters topped the list. Many people have to juggle multiple chronic conditions on top of daily costs. Caregivers, too, may take on quite a bit of stress in supporting loved ones financially.

Sources of anxiety

”Will my medical bills take every penny?” “Change in prescription costs”
Paying for treatment, even with insurance, can be extremely expensive. Others might not understand how the bills can add up. You might end up sacrificing some areas to keep up with health-related costs. There can also be concern about the future. One community member wondered, “how will I afford care as I get older. Already broke and on disability!”

”Health insurance and pre-existing conditions”
Many community members mentioned the frustration of having to navigate the confusing world of insurance. If any of your health problems are considered pre-existing conditions, coverage can be even more complicated. One member asks herself, “whether my insurance will cover the next medication that might work.”

Bills with words like treatment, work, afford, coverage, broke pile up and one begins to catch fire.

”Needing meds I can’t afford” “Unable to even see a doctor”
Navigating disability and insurance coverage is often a full-time job. For instance, one community member explained that they “haven’t had health insurance for the past several years so [they] can’t afford to go to the doctor for treatment or whenever a new symptom pops up.” It can be hard to stay ahead of symptoms and flares when you aren’t able to visit a doctor regularly.

“Losing my health insurance before I get on SSI.”
If finding work gets hard, there can be added anxiety about losing coverage. The extra stress of staying in a job or finding a job can make symptoms worse, or make it harder to manage caring for your loved ones.

Seeking support

Talking with other community members is a great place to start. Others can provide the latest tips coupons, assistance programs from their personal experience. Many organizations provide resources to help with cost and navigating coverage. Below you’ll find a few potential resources:

  • While not every nonprofit provides financial assistance, they can often refer you to programs. In addition to national nonprofits like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, contact local nonprofits that may know about local resources.
  • Our advocate Carole’s article on finding financial assistance.
  • See our list of blood cancer resources.


  • CherieRineker moderator
    8 months ago

    Though my family is blessed with good insurance, it is through my husband who is ten years older than me. I can no longer work due to cancer, and because I chose to give up a career I loved to stay home and raise my daughter, I did not qualify for disability or other assistance. My husband is looking to work until I reach 65, and I feel guilty about that. Our insurance companies make us jump through hoops for approval from tests my doctor deems necessary, and it often gets denied. Sometimes the stress of dealing with the unexpected outrageous bills, which are often the result of a mistake on the side of the company or hospital, can add as much stress to my life as the cancer itself, and we all know that stress is not good for anybody and patients in particular. I always feel I am guilty until proven innocent and the proof is up to me and takes hours on the phone going back and forth between hospitals and insurance. The system is seriously flawed.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    8 months ago

    Money is frequently a problem. I think it’s so sad that we have to worry about trying to do everything we can to try and save our lives.

  • VinnieCent moderator
    8 months ago

    There is no good age to have cancer but I couldn’t imagine how much energy would go into navigating balancing financial responsibilities with my health concerns. Worrying about homework, athletics, and how my peers perceived me was enough concern for me!

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    8 months ago

    I couldn’t agree with you more… like there’s not enough to think and deal with. Continue being the warrior you are!

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    8 months ago

    @vinniecent Thanks for reading! There is no good age, although after years of chronic illness, cancer was a bit easier for me to face. I do know a thing or two about peers and their opinion of me, and that’s never easy. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • bluchs
    8 months ago

    Financial Stress, Wow!
    You Bet.
    When I first got cancer, the pain of getting so sick along with treatment and possible death was bad enough.
    But then the cost was astronomical?
    The added anxiety of the financial burden, was almost enough to kill me alone, forget the cancer??
    But I struggled through it all.
    I ended up losing everything, all assets.
    Now that I have nothing, and I am still sick, and still fighting for my life?
    The financial part of it seems like nothing, there is no longer any money to suffer about, so, I guess in that way, I am better off???
    I do Thank God, for my daughter in law, she reached out to every source available, and got me all of the financial assistance, I now need to continue the fight over this cancer I have.
    Medication alone costs over $12,000.00 every month, but I am able to get it.
    I just had 2 blood transfusions, 3 steroid infusions, and 4&1/2 gamma globulin infusions at a cost of around $70,000.00 and it was all paid for by insurance.
    I now may need a stem cell transplant, and it will all be paid for.
    The assistance is out there, and available.
    But only after you loose everything.
    I had a net worth of about $250.000.00 before I got sick.
    Now my net worth is NOTHING. 0.00
    But I am still alive, and I no longer have to worry about the anxiety of the financial burden of it all.
    My faith in God, got stronger, My relationship with family and friends got stronger.
    Now I am happy to just be alive.
    Go Figure, I suffered, worrying about money for 3 years.
    But now?
    I actually feel Blessed, it has been almost 4 years of fighting cancer, and that is the bad news.
    But the good news is, it has been almost 4 years of fighting cancer, and I am still here.
    I lost everything financially, but I found myself.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    8 months ago

    I think it’s amazing that you were able to find so much monetary support. I’m sorry you had to lose everything first, but I’m glad you are able to get your medicines and treatments covered.

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    8 months ago

    @bluchs Sorry to hear that, but it sounds like you are finding a way to get through without being down all the time, and that’s great. It is true that cancer makes you not sweat the small stuff, as it were, and it is easier to get over the smaller losses. It sounds like you’ll be fine, though, Bluchs! Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

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