How Much Does it Cost to Treat Ovarian Cancer?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2021

Ovarian cancer has far-reaching effects. Beyond the physical, mental, and emotional impact, cancer-related expenses may take a serious toll on finances.

Cancer and its treatment can be expensive. Bills for things like copays, medicines, and supplements can quickly add up. Even if you have insurance, paying for treatment and everything that comes with a cancer diagnosis can become costly.

If a cancer diagnosis and its treatment cause you or a loved one to be out of work, lost wages can add to the financial strain.

The expenses may feel overwhelming. It is important to know that there are resources to help with the financial challenges of cancer.

What is financial toxicity?

Financial toxicity is a term for the issues related to the cost of treatment that people with cancer may face. It may also be called financial distress.1

Research shows that people living with cancer and cancer survivors are more likely to have financial toxicity than those without cancer. It refers to the out-of-pocket costs that people face, including:1

  • Copayments
  • Deductibles
  • Coinsurance
  • Prescription drugs
  • Hospital stays
  • Outpatient services

The amount of financial distress can vary on several things, including:1

  • Whether or not you or your partner are working
  • Debt you had before cancer
  • Your assets
  • Costs related to your cancer
  • Your insurance (health and disability) status and benefits

Some things increase your risk of financial distress. This includes having:1

  • Advanced cancer
  • Cancer that has returned (known as recurrent cancer)
  • More than 1 kind of cancer
  • More than 1 chronic condition at the same time (known as comorbid conditions)

Financial issues and cancer

Research shows that about 40 percent of people in the United States cannot afford an unexpected bill of $400. Plus, more than 50 percent of people living with cancer in the United States report high medical bills, financial stress, or delayed treatments because of the cost. It makes sense that a cancer diagnosis is financially devastating for many people.2

Even with private health insurance, you might have a high deductible, higher copays, and higher coinsurance. This can further drive up medical bills. If you are unable to work because of cancer or its treatment, your income may also be affected.

To help with costs, some people living with cancer may delay taking their prescription drugs, skip medical appointments, and avoid needed medical procedures. All of these things can lead to worse health outcomes and reduced quality of life.2

If you have financial concerns, talk to your doctor and treatment team. They can help you find resources, so you do not have to avoid the medical care you need.

Resources to help with paying for cancer treatment

Many hospitals and cancer centers understand that costs linked to cancer and its treatment can be stressful. Some may have financial specialists who can work with you. They may be able to explain the costs of treatment, your financial options, and what your insurance covers.3

You may want to talk to someone from the hospital billing department. They may be able to discuss payment plans, reduced rates, patient assistance programs, and available charity help.4

Hospital social workers may be aware of programs that can help you. This can include cheaper prescription plans and other cost-saving resources.

Tell your doctors about how much things cost. They might not be able to change anything, but let them know how it affects your medical decisions. They may be able to work with you to come up with a realistic treatment plan that meets your needs.

Other organizations also help with the costs of cancer care, including:3

  • Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition
  • LiveStrong Cancer Navigation Center
  • Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)
  • RxHope
  • SAMFund

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