Cancer Truth Note: #73
Financial burden for breast cancer survivors (BCS) is significant. Financial burden for BCS with severe lymphedema can be catastrophic.
The research confirming the financial toxicity of a cancer diagnosis for women is undeniable. Breast cancer survivors face significant financial challenges. Financial burden may be amplified by a further diagnosis of breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL).
A 2017 report by Boyages et al. found financial impact was more significant for patients diagnosed with BCRL, with 80% of BCS with BCRL and 67% of BCS without BCRL indicating their diagnosis had impacted them financially. Average out of pocket costs also vary significantly. BCS with BCRL diagnosed with early stage subclinical BCRL versus severe BCRL experience annual costs averaging $207 versus $1400 respectively. (References furnished on request, for those who want to read the full report.)
These numbers confirm the important role early screening for BCRL can play in reducing financial burden and improving quality of life for BCS.
Getting screened should also not cost a small fortune or take 6 to 8 weeks to get an appointment. Recently a client shared her cost for being measured for custom garments in a local PTs office was over $600 after insurance review, for less than an hour of measurements without any other treatment. This is NOT OK!
We need better education and more options for getting the services we need at affordable prices. Lymphedema is a condition that can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Knowing the risks and advocating for screening is important.
Have you been screened? Do you know who to see? Are there options in your area? Need help finding a qualified resource? Let me know in the comments.
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