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Child Cancer: Financial Support for Cancer Patients and Families

According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, one in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before they reach the age of 20. Cancer is responsible for 9% of all childhood deaths in America. Leukemia, a type of blood cancer, represents 28% of all childhood cancer diagnoses. Other common childhood cancers include lymphoma, osteosarcoma, neuroblastoma, and malignant tumors.

While it’s still unclear exactly why childhood cancer develops, the American Cancer Society states survival statistics for childhood cancer have been rising, with 84% of children diagnosed with cancer surviving five years or more.

Cancer is a devastating disease, both physically, emotionally, and financially, and it affects everyone around it. If your child is living with cancer, there are several resources you can use to help find support for your child, as well as yourself during this difficult time. Below is a collection of resources, across a variety of areas, that can help ease the burden of living with childhood cancer.

Financial Aid Resources

Not only is childhood cancer a physical and emotional ordeal, but it is incredibly expensive. Diagnoses like cancer can spell huge amounts in medical debt, especially if you are a single parent. While cancer treatment is a very costly endeavor, there are several charities dedicated to providing financial relief to families battling childhood cancer and its effects:

You can talk to your hospital’s financial advisor to see if you are eligible for any of these resources, and how they may affect your outstanding bills. Additionally, you may have medical expenses that are tax-deductible, entitling you to a partial reimbursement from the IRS.

Insurance Resources

Some families have difficulties concerning health insurance coverage and cancer treatments. If you, or dependents on your coverage, were diagnosed with cancer prior to getting health insurance coverage, some grandfathered private healthcare companies may refuse to cover you. This can make getting insured more difficult, and potentially more expensive.

However, there are several government and private health insurance entities that offer coverage and coverage resources for children diagnosed with cancer. These resources include, but are not limited to:

A financial advisor may be able to give you further advice on health insurance coverage for children with cancer. If you are already insured, and then your child gets diagnosed, make sure you reach out to your current provider to ask about how your child’s cancer diagnosis may affect your insurance premiums, as well as what treatments are covered.

Pain Management Resources

Pain management is an integral part of cancer care, and can be an especially delicate process in cases of childhood cancer. This is due to the patient not being able to coherently communicate their pain to care providers, who may not be able to understand the patient’s communications due to their young age.

The number of prescriptions associated with pain management can be daunting, as well as expensive. Below are some resources that will help you understand your child’s pain care, as well as help manage prescription costs:

Travel Resources

In some cases, you and your child may have to travel to a specialist to get the appropriate care that they need. This can add unexpected costs, such as flights, hotel stays, and time off work, that are very rarely, if ever, covered by insurance.

Furthermore, your child may need to travel with special accommodations that might not be available through commercial airlines. Below are some resources for  families needing to travel as part of their child’s cancer treatment:

Caregiver Resources

Caregivers of childhood cancer patients — including parents, guardians, and other family members — experience their own set of unique challenges. Caregivers are responsible for helping manage the well-being of their loved ones during treatment, as well as perform crucial administration duties, such as insurance paperwork and finance management.

It’s important if you are a caregiver that you not only tend to your child, but to your own needs as well. These resources assist caregivers in taking care of themselves; here, too, are services that can make caring for their child or loved one easier:

Organ Donor Resources

Certain cancers may necessitate an organ transplant, which is made possible by organ donors. If your child or loved one is in need of an organ transplant, you can get tested to see if you could be their organ donor. Organ donors must meet specific criteria, which vary depending on the organ in question. They will also have to go through surgery and recovery, which can each present its own challenges, especially if you are a caregiver.

Consult your doctor, as well as your child’s doctor, and get the full picture of what the process entails before you sign on to be an organ donor. If you are considering becoming an organ donor, or your child needs an organ transplant, these resources will provide you with information about the process:

If you would like to become an organ donor but do not have a loved one in immediate need, you can sign up with your state’s organ donor registry.

College Financial Aid Resources

If you’re wondering how saving for college fits in with your child’s cancer diagnosis, then you may be happy to hear that there are several college funding opportunities out there for those who have been, or are currently diagnosed with cancer. Below are some institutions that offer such scholarships:

Universities typically have their own scholarship pages, where you may find even more funding opportunities for current or prospective students who have experienced cancer.

Intercultural Resources

In times of great stress, many find support and comfort from those in their cultural communities. You can talk to your child’s treatment team about instituting new traditions or cultural practices alongside their current treatment routine. There are multiple cancer resources that are centered around intercultural traditions and practices:

Legal Resources

As a parent of or caregiver for a child with cancer, one of your important responsibilities will be managing the administrative side of your child’s cancer treatment. This includes health insurance, the payment or dispute of medical bills, tax claims and deductions, the management of prescriptions, and so forth.

Because of the amount of administration, and the importance of managing it effectively, you may find it helpful to seek legal counsel. In the unfortunate event of patient mistreatment — including misdiagnosis, inferior pain management, and even patient abuse — there are specialized resources you can use to file and settle legal action concerning your child’s cancer treatment:

Well-Being Resources

Cancer treatment is incredibly hard, both physically and emotionally, and it can affect your child’s abilities to engage in the activities they enjoy. While your child’s physical health during this time is a top priority, as their caregiver, you should also take steps to look after their mental well-being. Below are some programs that have been specifically engineered to improve the mental well-being of children with cancer through creative and social outlets, or extraordinary opportunities:

Fundraising Resources

Cancer treatment is incredibly expensive, and can incur other costs outside of medical bills — including travel expenses, time taken off work, and other necessities not covered under health insurance. This makes crowdfunding for expenses, both medical and non-medical related, a viable option for many families currently paying for treatments. Below are some fundraising and fundraising assistance platforms available to families and caregivers:

Family Resources

If you are a family member or loved one of a child with cancer, even if you are not their primary caretaker, there are still resources available for you. These resources can help you understand your loved one’s condition, help you give them support, as well as lend personal support:

Cancer Survivor Resources

Remission and rehabilitation is typically the goal in all cases of cancer. As childhood cancer survival rates rise, it pays to be prepared with a remission plan. These resources can help you navigate you and your child’s life after cancer treatment:

Grief and Bereavement Resources

While childhood cancer survival rates have increased, there is no cure for cancer or the other potentially fatal conditions it imposes. Your child may also experience grief during treatment due to the loss of their hair, changes in their appearance, changes in their lifestyle, and changes in their physical abilities. If you or your child are experiencing loss-related grief, there are several support resources available

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