The Financial Impact of Cancer

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is one of the most difficult things that can happen in anyone’s life. It manages to find its way into almost every aspect of your world and disrupts family life as you know it.

The main priority in this complex and demanding situation should be dealing with your diagnosis and, as appropriate, a treatment plan.The financial cost of cancer is often not considered at the time of diagnosis.

Many of those who took part in our research commented that it was only after their treatment they properly assessed the financial toll cancer took on them. Most people are distracted by the day- to-day medical, physical and emotional impact of their diagnosis. Our research showed that everyone, from every part of the country, at every age and from different socio-economic groups have experienced the financial impact of cancer.

The financial impact can take two specific forms:

  • Additional costs
  • Reduction in income 

Additional costs appear in many ways, such as the cost of medication, managing side effects, additional medical expenses, increased day-to- day living costs, costs associated with treatment, changes in personal care costs, and one-off household purchases. Meanwhile, many have had to change their working arrangements upon diagnosis and throughout the course of their treatment.

One in three respondents changed their employment status since their cancer diagnosis. Three in four had their employment circumstances changed in some way post-diagnosis.

Overall the cost of cancer is immense and we have made a conservative estimate of €756 per month, rising to over €1,000 per month in some cases

 Income and challenges in the workplace

  • The average drop in the income of cancer patients was €1,527 per month, according to the survey, or €18,323 per annum
  • One in three changed their employment status
  • One in four changed their approach to work
  • 45% of carers’ employment was affected

Over three in five of those working have had their income reduced as a result of their cancer diagnosis with annual income reducing by over €18,323, equating to about €1,527 per month.

Cost of medicines, consultants and parking at the hospital

  • The average cost of medicines and medical expenses was just over €261 per month
  • 1 in 10 incurred costs from hospital stays; the average was €288 per month which could not be claimed back
  • Over a quarter paid consultants’ fees at an average cost of €135 per month
  • Similar amounts were spent on physiotherapy and other specialties; GP charges were an additional €81 per month
  • The average costs associated with visiting hospital for appointments or treatment, such as petrol, parking and eating in the hospital was €291 per month

Additional bills at home

  • One in two had additional heating, electricity and telecoms bills
  • A quarter had increased food and drink costs
  • One in eight also had additional childcare costs
  • Over half spent more on personal care and clothing as a result of having cancer

Medical card and health insurance

  • Two in five patients had a medical card at the time of their diagnosis
  • Half received a medical card following diagnosis
  • 17% of those who applied for a medical card were not successful
  • 62% had private health insurance

While above is showing a lot of statistics the main point is having a cancer diagnoses can and will increase your expenditure. Even if you have private health insurance, it will cover your medical care but will not cover you for parking, overnight stays in hotels meals etc etc. My own father was in St. Vincent’s hospital in Dublin for 3 weeks in February of this year (2023). My mother and sister had to stay in a hotel working out around €1000 per week. They then had to eat, wash clothes etc etc all while still having their normal everyday bills at home. I live in Mullingar so would travel every evening and come home again at night. This lead to an increase cost of €300 per week just on travel, tea’s, coffee’s and PARKING! The financial impact is real, but there is ways to cover yourself so that the burden can be less. Serious Illness Cover is one but there are others. Give me a call and lets talk. No hard sales talk just honest advice and a plan to suit your budget.

Low Cost Life Cover is an independent broker with agencies with all the major insurers Zurich, Royal London Ireland, Irish Life, Aviva and New Ireland. It is our job to provide you with the best independent advice that is the most suitable for your needs. I’m Anthony and I have over 25 years experience working in Financial Services. I would be happy to discuss your individual needs if you have any questions give me a call 01 6853818, I’m from Donegal I love to talk!

*Source: The National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI)

**Source: The Irish Cancer Society Real Cost of Cancer report