Managing the Financial Stress of Childhood Cancer

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Thank you to Kathleen Gallagher of the Patient Advocate Foundation for manning our shared poster presentation at this month's 2018 ASCO Quality Care Symposium!

The data presented comes from a joint survey conducted last year by the Children's Cause and the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF). The survey sought to identify financial challenges in access to care, such as insurance barriers, coverage limitations and denials, high copays and extraordinary out-of-pocket costs.

A total of 343 respondents completed the 2017 survey, evenly split between caregivers and survivors. 

  • Among caregivers, one-third reported insurance denials for treatment, and 44% reported some level of financial hardship. Among the 44% of respondents reporting financial hardships, 4-in-10 had annual out-of-pocket costs exceeding $5,000. Beyond medical expenses, respondents identified employment and transportation costs, with 87% reporting compromised work schedules and over half reporting trouble getting their child to and from appointments.

  • For survivors, 27% reported not receiving follow-up care at a late effects clinic, with 1-in-4 reporting that their cancer care impacted their ability to pursue higher education and 30% reporting that the cost of their medical care impacted their career course or job choice.

We have just completed another round of surveying families and will be incorporating this new data to build upon what we learned last year and continue to refine our policy efforts accordingly.

Abstract from ASCO Meeting Library→
Poster Presentation →


If your family is struggling and you need help now, we encourage you to start by exploring the Hope Portal, a searchable database of support resources for families of childhood cancer. You can find organizations that serve your area and help with home expenses or medical bills.