1 in 4 cancer survivors is going broke fighting to stay alive

For many survivors, getting cancer treatment has been a matter of life and debt.

Almost one in four American cancer survivors said they struggled to pay medical bills, according to a new CDC report, and one third have worried about their out-of-pocket medical costs. The average out-of-pocket spending for the estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors in the country is also significantly higher (about $1,000 a year) than the $622 that people without a cancer history have spent annually. What’s more, 25% said they had to borrow money, go into debt or file for bankruptcy to cover medical expenses.

When Beth Stebner was rocked by an ovarian cancer diagnosis just six months before her 2017 wedding, she was hit with a $130,000 hospital bill for emergency surgery on the grapefruit-sized tumor that had ruptured on her right ovary.

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