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Filing for bankruptcy becomes a reality for many cancer survivors

Most people are familiar with the various public campaigns to raise awareness and funds in regards to cancer and cancer treatment. The highly-popular National Football League, for instance, has a campaign throughout the month of October when players and coaches were various bits of pink in their uniforms and clothing to show support for breast cancer awareness. However, what is not widely known - and definitely not widely discussed - is that for someone going through cancer treatment after a diagnosis, the financial burden can be considerable.

In a recent article, the results from a survey of almost 1,600 current and former cancer patients were discussed. According to the article, the survey indicated that 27 percent of the survey respondents indicated that they were left facing either personal bankruptcy or at least substantial debt as a result of their cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatment.

In addition to those who reported financial problems regarding debt and bankruptcy, 37 percent reportedly noted that they have had to delay their retirement plans or make significant changes with their work arrangements because of the cancer and their treatment. The financial burdens were obviously more significant for those survey respondents who noted that they were in the process of receiving cancer treatment at the time of the survey.

Medical debt is one of the leading reasons for why Americans find themselves filing for bankruptcy. Contrary to popular belief, reckless and irresponsible spending are not always the main reasons for why someone would have to make this kind of financial move. Unexpected medical costs, like those that need to be paid in the wake of a cancer diagnosis, can leave individual or family finances depleted. That is when Chapter 7 bankruptcy can become a useful option.

Source:, "Many Americans in Debt, Bankruptcy Paying for Cancer Care," Robert Preidt, Oct. 22, 2014

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