Mar 17, 2022 - Health

Half of cancer patients report medical debt

A photo illustration about medical debt

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than a quarter of cancer patients depleted most or all of their savings to cover the costs of their care, according to a study released Thursday by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Why it matters: The cost of cancer care is having a substantial impact on the lives of cancer patients, even among those who have insurance.

By the numbers: The poll of more than 1,2o0 cancer patients conducted between Feb. 9 and 23 found a majority of patients and survivors said they were unprepared for the costs of their care.

  • In order to afford their care, 28% of respondents said they'd gone into credit card debt and 20% had borrowed money from relatives and friends.
  • More than one in 10 took out another type of loan, like borrowing from a payday lender or refinancing their homes.
  • About half of patients said they incurred cancer-related medical debt. Of those, about half reported it had gone to collections and hurt their credit.
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