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Breast Cancer’s Financial Toxicity Extends Beyond Treatment Costs

There are an estimated 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, including those undergoing treatment and living with metastatic breast cancer. That is a staggering statistic.


Paula Schneider

CEO, Susan G. Komen

According to the National Institutes of Health, medical expenses for breast cancer were an estimated $16.5 billion in 2010 and have only risen in the past decade.

Treatment alone is expensive. But the emotional, physical, mental, and financial toll inflicted on people with breast cancer and their families is what makes the disease especially toxic.  

Hidden figures

Breast cancer treatment has many hidden costs. These costs can include paying for childcare during medical appointments, gasoline for trips to the doctor, parking at the chemotherapy facility, and anti-nausea medication. These expenses add up quickly, and too often people with breast cancer must choose between staying in treatment or putting food on the table for their families. Those who chose to stay in treatment may suffer from long-term financial ruin in order to save their lives.

Susan G. Komen works across all fronts to remove financial barriers to care, because we believe every life is worth saving and no one should be financially devastated because of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Financial resources

Komen’s Breast Care Helpline is a great starting place to learn about resources available to those with breast cancer and their loved ones. Trained professionals offer free support and provide information about financial assistance programs that patients may qualify for, including the Komen Treatment Assistance Program. The Komen Treatment Assistance Program bridges the gap for underserved individuals who are actively undergoing breast cancer treatment. 

Breast cancer is pervasive. 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Nobody should have to go through a diagnosis or treatment alone.

Call 1 (877) GO KOMEN or email [email protected] to learn about programs available to help anyone who has been impacted by the disease.

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