It’s a common misperception that there is something shameful about needing financial help. Some feel that it’s an embarrassment to have an excessive amount of debt and the need to file for bankruptcy. Those people, however, need to look at reality.
Options like filing for personal bankruptcy were made possible because many people deserve the chance to get back on their feet following various times of unpredictability — expensive unpredictability — in their lives. An example of a common surprise that leads many into bankruptcy is cancer.
The American Cancer Society looked at the information of cancer patients’ who were diagnosed between 1995 and 2009. The rate of bankruptcy among those subjects was compared to the average filing rate in the country. The findings suggest that people diagnosed with cancer are about two times more likely to turn to bankruptcy.
It’s not entirely surprising, but it is still worth thinking about. Cancer treatments can be very expensive, even with the help of insurance. Research shows that lung cancer patients are the most likely to need bankruptcy help. But various other types of cancer also cost money to treat and mean that a patient and his or her family might need to stop working. Since this is breast cancer awareness month, it seems appropriate to report that breast cancer is number seven on the list of cancers that most commonly lead to necessary bankruptcy filings.
Unemployment happens. Shifts in the economy happen. And, sadly, sickness happens. Anyone who has battled or is currently battling a life-threatening or debilitating disease shouldn’t add to their already high levels of stress because of pride or a false sense of shame by continuing to try to juggle endless bills. Bankruptcy can be the fresh start that people need to focus on what is really important: their lives.
The Huffington Post: “Could Cancer Make You Go Bankrupt? The Risk For 8 Types Of Cancer,” Amanda Chan, Oct. 12, 2011