The Cost of Cancer

$100,855.72 – The Cost of A Testicular Cancer Battle is Ridiculous

That’s nearly three years of my salary. Half of my mortgage. Roughly four new trucks. Approximately one-tenth of a wedding in 2017 (just kidding, but they are crazy expensive).

It’s also how much it has cost to defeat cancer over these past few months. That’s a crazy figure. Oftentimes, it’s said you can’t put a price on a human life. Essentially, now I can.

That figure doesn’t even take into account the gas money to and from the clinic, the fees from freezing my sperm, random food runs when the mood hit me, pharmacy prescriptions, and other miscellaneous comforts in the long journey that was chemo.

To be fair, all those prescriptions set me up with a really cool medicine pyramid now.

Luckily, I don’t have to pay the full amount out of pocket. I would literally have to take a loan out to do that. My bank account would barely put a dent in that, especially if I wanted to have electricity, running water, and food still. My insurance is covering the bulk of the bills. Thankfully, I am responsible for only a few thousand of that staggering figure.

Despite insurance, who has so much money to spend on cancer treatment?

However, I was not prepared to spend even hundreds, let alone thousands, of dollars on medical bills. (Before cancer, buying a house and planning a wedding were my financial goals for 2016-2017.) I have always been really good with money, saving, and budgeting. Even so, like most people, I didn’t have a line item for keeping cancer at bay. I am appreciative of the medical treatment I received, and I know it was a worthy cost.

However, all these bills pouring in, paired with the fact that I had to take thirteen unpaid workdays in February, causes me more undue stress. Part of me can’t get past the injustice of it. As Dr. Maurer said at my post-op appointment, I didn’t do anything to cause myself to have cancer, but I still had the cost to contend with. I am still on the hook for thousands of dollars of medical bills.

I’m also not entirely sure what exactly I owe and to whom.

My insurance company told me a set amount that would end my contributions to bills, but I received one bill from my initial surgery that was over this amount. When I called the insurance company to question them, they said that the claim had been improperly processed and I shouldn’t pay it. I keep getting bills for it, but I work through the business hours of the hospital and the insurance company and can’t call to figure out how much I owe. Becoming adept at bill paying and navigating automated phone menus is a skill I need to improve.

I hate asking for help and I never want it to feel like I am using ABSOT as a platform to solely benefit me in any monetary way. However, I am also a realist. I simply can’t afford to foot all of these medical bills by myself. There was a GoFundMe set up and both my former and current schools did fundraisers to help defray the costs and I am incredibly grateful for all of these contributions.

What about those without healthcare and insurance?

As I conclude this piece, I’m left wondering about those who do not have insurance. Would they be responsible for the full cost of treatment? That’s a wholly unnecessary burden on someone who doesn’t need it.

I am not a very political person, but I wonder what changes to the Affordable Care Act will bring to me (or other patients and survivors) if I ever need to change in insurance. Even though I am in remission now, I still need surveillance scans and follow up visits for the next year, which means more bills.

When talking with a friend in Australia, he said all bills are taken care of by the government. Wouldn’t that be a nice reality to have?

Although, I’m sure this comes at a price of having the risk of a dingo eating your baby.

A self exam is how most cases of testicular cancer are detected early. Click the image for video directions or click here for a larger version


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7 Responses

  1. Miss Trayers says:

    That part is definitely not in the brochure. 🙂 I just had my one-year anniversary from my last radiation treatment and I am still receiving bills. I was lucky enough to have to go into a new year after meeting my deductible, so a whole new $2,000 deductible had to be paid and don't even get me started on coinsurance. What is that exactly? The only time I cried at school throughout this whole process was when I got a collections call-it's the first time in my life that had ever happened. Certainly it is worth it, but an extra stressor that definitely is not needed. I too worry about the future of insurance in this country-hopefully the voices of all those affected by things like this will be heard.

  2. Miss Trayers says:

    That part is definitely not in the brochure. 🙂 I just had my one-year anniversary from my last radiation treatment and I am still receiving bills. I was lucky enough to have to go into a new year after meeting my deductible, so a whole new $2,000 deductible had to be paid and don't even get me started on coinsurance. What is that exactly? The only time I cried at school throughout this whole process was when I got a collections call-it's the first time in my life that had ever happened. Certainly it is worth it, but an extra stressor that definitely is not needed. I too worry about the future of insurance in this country-hopefully the voices of all those affected by things like this will be heard.

  3. It's insanity. Months later, the hospital and my insurance company are still yet to determine who pays for my surgery.

  4. It's insanity. Months later, the hospital and my insurance company are still yet to determine who pays for my surgery.

  1. May 14, 2019

    […] $200. (Although if you skip doing the exams, you’ll wish you had collected that $200. Cancer is crazy expensive.) I was told by my doctor many years ago to do them monthly, and luckily, I did them regularly and […]

  2. May 20, 2019

    […] are physical changes, financial costs, and numerous emotional tolls that you’ll encounter along the way. For me, cancer forced me to […]

  3. May 20, 2019

    […] That’s probably something I should mention. This program is based in Australia and some things towards the end (regarding financial and legal business) are about Australia. I just kind of skipped through it. I really hope the Australian team does not take offense to the dingo joke I made in my cost of cancer post. […]

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