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The cost of cancer

Helen Palmer Nov 21, 2006
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The cost of cancer

Helen Palmer Nov 21, 2006
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TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Cancer isn’t just scary — it’s expensive. A new survey shows just how much damage the disease can cause to your pocketbook. From the Health Desk at WGBH, Helen Palmer reports.


HELEN PALMER: The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health carried out this survey of close to a thousand cancer patients. Kaiser’s Mollyann Brody:

MOLLYANN BRODY: One in 4 told us that they used up all or most of their savings in dealing with their cancer care. One in 8 were contacted by a collection agency.

Brody says the situation was worse for the uninsured. Six percent filed for bankruptcy, and one in 1 0had to go without other essentials like food or heat.

But even patients with coverage had problems.

BRODY: Almost a quarter said that the insurance had paid less than expected for pieces of their cancer care.

On the positive side, Brody says three-quarters of patients found their employers supportive and sympathetic. But one in 10 lost their job because they got cancer.

In Boston, I’m Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

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