Bring up personal hurdles to treatment. Financial strain may not be top of mind for your cancer doctor. But it’s something you should bring up. No one should delay or avoid treatment because of cost. Your cancer care team can help you apply for drug assistance programs or find the funds another way.
“There is a whole wealth of resources that may be out there that we can tap into,” Suh says. “But it doesn’t happen automatically.”
You can also tell your doctor that you’re having problems in other ways not specifically related to the cancer itself. Ask to speak with a social worker, navigator, or financial counselor if you need:
- Mental health support
- Help with childcare
- Transportation to and from treatment
- Healthy food for you and your family
- Assistance with your housing or utility bills
- Legal or financial help
- Interpreter services
Keep the conversation going. You may need to constantly weigh the pros and cons of drug side effects and your quality of life. And when it comes to if you want to continue treatment, the final decision lies with you.
“Some (people) say, listen, I don’t want to get chemotherapy. Other people say, I want to live as long as possible,” Schellhorn says. “That’s a very personal decision that requires a frank conversation with the (person) and the oncologist.”