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The cost of cancer when your income is already below par
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Just got a call from "my" BC Cancer nurse (nurse that is my main contact for now for all things BC Cancer - as BC Cancer not really involved until actual “cancer” surgery, and still waiting to get the liver biopsies done and whatever happens after that).
She was calling to find out if I would be interested in being part of a cancer clinical trial - basically, clinical trials offer treatment options and access to the latest treatments and procedures resulting from cancer research.
The trial is in Vancouver. I live on northern Vancouver Island.
The trial would require me to travel back and forth to/from Nanaimo, ferry over,/back travel to and from in Vancouver, as well as often overnight stays. On my own dime.
I feel like I've been thrown a potential life preserver and then pulled back before I could even reach out for it with an "oh, sorry, you're too poor"

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2 Posts

First I was all feeling really sad for myself and then shook myself with a WTF - I'm not necessarily going to be in a healthy situation let alone economicalable situation, to be able to travel THAT much to trial something that may be sugar water for all I know.
And dang it - she woke me up for this too.
Now I'm going to go sit on the toilet and then crawl back into bed, and be grateful that I CAN sleep during the day while my husband is doing his darndest to make expenses work for us here at home.

Runner Girl
2799 Posts


Welcome, sorry you find yourself here.

Did you explain to your nurse the financial issue around participation in the trial? Do you have a cancer centre social worker that could assist in this regard? Ask your nurse if there is any financial assistance from the company supporting the trial.

I had to have neulasta shots during my chemo, they were $2000 per shot and I needed 6 of them. My insurance paid a portion. My nurse sent in a form and the drug company covered the remainder.

There are options. You just have to start asking the questions.

1251 Posts


I feel like I've been thrown a potential life preserver and then pulled back before I could even reach out for it with an "oh, sorry, you're too poor"

Hello and Welcome @jcpainy You have come to a very good place for support and information. Thank you for being so courageous in sharing your story and trusting us with it.

My heart goes out to you. I know what it feels like. The financial toll that cancer takes on lower income families or individuals is daunting, even over-whelming.

It sounds like you and your husband are working hard to keep your heads above water, so that will be a strong point you may be able to lean on. And as another poster has said there should be some kind of options to choose from that will help.

For example, here in Alberta, we can access a Provincial Plan called The Palliative Drug Care Plan or something like that, and it covers 100% of medication costs after, of course, we first spend a certain amount of our own money which we didnt have. (I was caregiver for my late wife).

For myself, I have a non-cancer related issue for which I have been having to travel from my mountain hideaway, to the big city of Edmonton for diagnostics and treatments. Its a three and one half hour drive just one way. I have already made three separate trips. Someone clued me in just yesterday that I could get mileage and other expenses covered by Alberta's Senior Health Benefits Plan. That will be a huge help for my situation!

I am thinking that if you request a session or two with a Social Worker for your area that she/he could tell you what would be available for you in your area, and for your specific challenges.

Its OK to not be OK and its always OK to ask for help. Your WTF moments might even turn into “thank you moments!” At least thats how it happened for my late wife and I. I hope you will feel free to come back as often as you feel up to it and let us know how its going. We will be here for you and yes, venting, whining, complaining is allowed.

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