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Once the initial shock of a mesothelioma diagnosis has started to fade, both patients and their family members turn to the practical aspects of what its effects will be. Cost is one of the top concerns that need to be addressed, particularly because mesothelioma is often diagnosed after the patient has retired, and if the patient is still working they may be too sick to continue to do so. Finances are on of the most stressful aspects of cancer care, and this is even more true for those with a mesothelioma diagnosis because the prognosis is so grim.

Though it may be tempting to try to cut corners in order to preserve financial resources and keep out-of-pocket costs to a minimum, doing so can have a significant negative impact on your quality of life and can even put additional hardships on your family. Though you may choose not to follow an aggressive course of treatment, you and your physician will still need to come up with a plan that will keep you comfortable.

Concerns about costs are best addressed through research, as the more that you understand about what the medical and associated costs of your care will be, the more you can do to manage them and prepare for them.

Cancer care has several different associated costs that need to be budgeted for. As a mesothelioma patient you may be pursuing a lawsuit that will compensate you and your family for the costs that you are facing, but that doesn’t stop the bills from coming in. Not only do you need to understand what all of your costs are but it is important that you document every single expense, and particularly costs that are not immediately obvious or anticipated.

These hidden expenses can quickly add up, and can be forgotten when it is time to hand in receipts and calculate damages. They can be as seemingly insignificant as the costs of parking at the hospital or the gas that you use on your way to treatments, or you may need to hire somebody to help you prepare meals or to clean your home for you as you become sicker. The best way to track your expenses is to break them down into different categories. These categories may include:

Doctors
This would include not only the medical care for exams, but also any copays or lab tests that you pay.
Cancer Treatment
This would include such treatments as radiation therapy, surgery or chemotherapy. Patients involved in mesothelioma clinical trials may have other associated costs.
Medication
Cancer medicines can be astronomically expensive, so make sure that you track every payment that you make.
Transportation
This includes airfare if your physician is far from your home, car, bus, or train expenses, and lodging if it is needed. Be sure to document miles for gas expenses and keep parking and toll receipts.
Living Expenses
There will be increased costs of running your household when you are sick. This includes childcare, help with caring for the family members of the mesothelioma patient, help with shopping, cleaning, cooking or errands.
Home Care
This is additional in home care or long-term care for the patient.
Financial Expenses
As a mesothelioma patient you may need to travel to meet with an attorney, a financial planner or an employment counselor in order to make plans for your future and the future of your family. Any expenses incurred in these areas are areas that will require money to be spent that would not have been had you not gotten sick.

This is a long list of expenses, and though just looking at them may cause stress, the more that you are able to anticipate about what your needs will be, the better you will be able to plan. Though it may be difficult to discuss financial concerns with your family or your physician, it is essential that you do so.

There are professionals who can help you navigate the costs, and many patient advocacy organizations that can help you with how best to manage your bills. Many may offer financial services or grants that can help you to reduce your expenses, so it is important that you take advantage of these resources in order to reduce your own burden.

The best way to begin these conversations is by asking simple questions such as who in your mesothelioma physician’s office to talk to about health insurance and how much you can anticipate having to pay out of pocket. Knowing that you have an advocate or somebody who can assist you will provide tremendous relief, and you’ll find that because they wok with mesothelioma patients and insurance companies every day, they will be a valuable help to you.

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