The financial burden of cancer

There is a significant financial burden to having cancer. Many Canadians incorrectly assume their cancer care costs are covered by provincial healthcare plans, and therefore, are unprepared for the struggle. Some dip into their savings, others turn to family, many don’t know where to turn for help.

One in six cancer patients in Canada have said that the costs involved with their illness are unmanageable.

Cancer treatments and recovery often restrict one’s ability to work for extended periods of time, with devastating effects on a cancer patient’s income. This is then often coupled with increased expenses from drugs not covered by benefit plans, travel, hospital meals and parking, long-distance phone calls and even new clothing due to drastic weight fluctuations.  In addition, primary caregivers such as family or spouses also face financial challenges because of the need to leave work to attend appointments or care for their loved ones.

To help overcome these challenges, Wellspring has created Money Matters and Money Matters Online, both unique and personalized services, provided free of charge, to help cancer patients understand and navigate the complex maze of income replacement options and drug reimbursement programs.

Cancer patients can meet with a Money Matters case manager in person at any one of five Wellspring Centres in Ontario, or they can meet online via private video conferencing software. Both opportunities are available at no cost to the individual with cancer.

“It is difficult to focus on your health when you’re worrying about money” says Pamela Bowes, Manager, Money Matters and Workplace programs at Wellspring.

A recent expansion of the Money Matters program to an online environment allows Wellspring to serve patients who live outside the geographical bounds of a centre, or who are too unwell to visit in person.

Wellspring Money Matters case managers have years of experience working in the field of vocational rehabilitation, with extensive knowledge and understanding of income replacement programs to help even those with the most complex of situations.

About Wellspring:

Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation is a network of community- based support centres offering programs, at no charge and without referral, to men, women and children living with cancer and those who support them. All programming is evidence-based, led by experienced professionals and developed through the Wellspring Centre of Innovation. Money Matters is available in person at Wellspring Downtown Toronto, Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House (Oakville), Wellspring Westerkirk House (Sunnybrook), Wellspring Chinguacousy (Brampton) and Wellspring Niagara, as well as online for residents of Ontario.

In 2017, Wellspring will be celebrating 25 years of providing supportive care for people living with cancer in Ontario.

— Margaret Valois