Cancer and finances

money-troublesAs if getting healthy wasn’t enough of a challenge, cancer can ruin your finances and your credit.

If you’re single it wears you out. If you’re married you often become the single income producer. No matter who you are, meds and good care become your #1 concern. You simply do not have the luxury to forgo life-saving treatments to pay off a gas bill with a shut off notice.

Last year, in a couple of months we went from not worrying about the grocery bill and occasional fun extras like, to getting our bread at the local St. Vincent De Paul and supplemental groceries at churches to conserve every possible dime. I went through every bill to figure out how to cut as much as possible. Reducing costs quickly is not easy – often it’s impossible to have cuts show immediately. It has taken a full year to reduce them, but in about a couple of months we’ll have cut our monthly outgo to about 1/4 of what we spent during Kevin’s original diagnosis. These cuts hurt, since a lot of our overhead comes from self employment costs, such as Kevin’s cabinet workshop. We’re also considering leaving our spacious, beautiful 3 bedroom home to move to a tiny, 2 bedroom 1979 trailer. Like the rattled people I see whose homes are flattened by tornadoes, we too are saying, “we’ve only lost stuff, but at least we’re okay”.

The resources for people like us are everywhere, but you need to learn the ropes first. Thanks to a good friend I was introduced to various churches and soup kitchens. The prepared food at the Salvation Army was nauseating, but I told myself as I pushed away everything but the fruit cocktail, that perhaps I hadn’t been poor enough to be so picky as to turn away free food. The others there gobbled everything up.

Why is it so hard to be poor? What happened to me that I see myself as different from anyone else? These were important things to feel as I ate lunch with the homeless and destitute. Somehow I de-evolved into thinking I was different, better or more responsible, forgetting that people often faced impossible odds as we are. Everyone has a story.

Here are a few online resources here about cancer, melanoma, insurance and finances. Hopefully people searching online for info about cancer, finances and treatments will find it helpful.

Make note of these places – when you’re better you can give back by donating time, money or food.


  • St. Vincent de Paul, generally through your local Catholic church
  • Check all churches for food drives
  • Salvation Army – often provides free meals and other essentials
This web site has a lot of resources about cancer, treatment and other advice. Since it’s buried in other cancer-related search results, I wouldn’t have come across it if not for a helpful person on Yahoo.
Financial information from the National Cancer Society, as well as legal information.


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