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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer and Budgeting

While you may have a general "rainy day" savings, most of us never budget specifically for a breast cancer diagnosis. If you've recently received a breast cancer diagnosis, budgeting may seem like an unpleasant and unnecessary task you'd rather not deal with on top of all the changes in your life. But, by proactively managing your finances, you can actually help minimize some of the stress you may be feeling, especially when facing the costs of treatment.


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In case you missed it on Monday, we have a stellar podcast episode with Dianne Webb, CFP all about financial planning. She breaks it down in easy and relatable ways!




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“Budgeting is understanding your income and your expenses. What comes in, and then what goes out. When serious life changes happen, the earlier we can adjust our spending to reflect our financial realities the less of a mess we’re creating for ourselves later on. Taking it step-by-step and starting early will prevent adding [more] stress later.”

Once you know how much you’re already spending, start thinking about additional expenses that should be added to your budget, like: travel during treatment, medication, lost income from your partner’s time off work, etc.

Talking to your doctor and insurance company as early as possible is important to help better understand how much these expenses will be. From there you can start planning how you will pay for them, whether that is from existing savings or borrowing from a bank. Read More.


You don't need to navigate this unfamiliar space alone. Financial counselors and oncology social workers are well versed in the expenses that come along with a cancer diagnosis and can help you come up with a payment plan and to better understand your insurance coverage. "Most cancer centers have social workers on staff. If yours doesn't, you can get free help from CancerCare."


Disability insurance is also something to consider and is best to look into as early as possible. "Loss of income is one of the greatest concerns for those facing breast cancer, especially metastatic. If you have recently been diagnosed, it may feel like it is too early to consider disability insurance. It's not. This is another issue better dealt with before it's needed. You may have disability insurance through your work or through a private policy, or you may need to consider social security disability. Since the process of applying for social security disability is lengthy, the best time to apply is as soon as you need it. " Read More.


Knowing all the associated expenses that come with a cancer diagnosis can help plan and budget for them as they arise. Some expenses are more obvious, like treatment, mastectomies, and breast reconstruction surgeries. But there are some additional "hidden" costs you may not have accounted for:

  • transportation

  • insurance copays and/or out of pocket expenses

  • medications and nutritional supplements

  • extra childcare

  • time off for yourself

  • time off for your family members.


As mentioned above, a financial planner can help you navigate the expenses that come with a breast cancer diagnosis. Here are some tips to choose the right financial planner for your situation.

"If you’re concerned about affording a financial planner, see if your care team or social worker can recommend a someone who provides pro bono (free) or reduced-fee services for people with cancer. If cost isn’t a major concern, you can search for a Certified Financial Planner™ in your area through the Financial Planning Association. There are other organizations with searchable databases as well, such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and the Society of Financial Service Professionals. In addition to finding a professional who is certified, you’ll want to know that he or she has experience helping people deal with the unique financial challenges that serious illness brings. Read More.


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