23 October 2017
This is true of all cancers: often the true financial cost of the illness remains largely undocumented. As a result, many patients and their families are caught unprepared for the 'hidden' expenses associated with cancer – like a wig or a scarf, comfortable clothes that fit, the petrol to get to appointments and a nourishing diet to nurture recovery.
The cost of cancer is not just high in South Africa, but in America a third of the population is plunged in debt due to the cost of cancer. This is according to the Kaiser Centre for Health Research on a group of American cancer patients aged 18 to 64.
Deon Theunis, head of distribution support at Sanlam Individual Life, says, “While it's advisable for people to be prepared with medical aid, severe illness cover and other policies, it's also vital for them to understand the extent of the additional expenses that aren't directly related to treatment. The full financial picture of the cost of cancer really only emerges when one understands these expenses and know what a policy does and does not cover.”
With that in mind, here are some estimations of the potential 'hidden costs' of cancer:
While all these expenses can seem overwhelming, being aware of and planning for them can help alleviate financial strain – especially if a patient already has severe illness cover in place.