In the United States one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during her life. As a woman gets older the chances of her developing the disease increases. Some factors that increase the risk of the disease are genetic alterations, family history and radiation therapy.
Not only is breast cancer an emotional burden, but it can also weigh heavily on the finances of many.
The financial impact of treating breast cancer can be costly even for people with the most inclusive health insurance plans. Oftentimes, sufferers have to dig deep into their pockets in order to pay for their treatments.
According to research published in the Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology out-of-pocket expenses totaled to an average of $1,455 per month and varied widely. Only 3% of the women in the study were reimbursed by their insurance company for their out-of-pocket expenses.
So it’s easy to see why breast cancer can dig many into a financial hole. One of the ways to prevent a large financial burden after a person hears the words, “it’s cancer” is to develop a plan before the diagnosis happens.
“You need to have properly funded and properly structured lifeboats before you get that cancer diagnosis,” said Kevin Cahill, a certified financial planner and the president and founder of Canadian Legacy Builder.
Nevertheless preparing for a life changing illness is not something many people do. However, there are also a few steps that cancer survivors can take after they’ve gone into remission to reevaluate their finances.
1. Look for the Right Advisor
After surviving breast cancer, the perspectives of the survivor can change. Choosing a financial advisor that reflects those changes is imperative. A financial advisor that understands the emotional and financial burdens of breast cancer might be better equipped to help a client understand their finances better, Cahill said.
“The biggest trait to look for is someone who has walked in those shoes. Whether they’ve had cancer themselves, their loved one has had it, or they work with clients who have had cancer. You need someone who has empathy — it brings an emotional aspect to the planning,” Cahill told ThinkAdvisor.