React Here: Facing the music – How do we handle breast cancer’s costs?

My cousin Adina, the American Cancer Society's Maribel Palacios and I, find an affordable wig. / Xavier Mascareñas/The Journal News

Today’s article, Fearing breast cancer’s costs, addresses a concern that we all share – cancer or not: How to handle the cost of anything and everything in today’s economy. I completely understand those fears. As a divorced mom with 2 young children, an upside-down mortgage, periods when I was left uninsured for months at a time, 3 jobs (including working for a start-up), I have a hard enough time sorting out how to afford everyday life. When I was diagnosed in July, and I started getting statements from my insurance company, denials for consultations, co-pay statements, and pricing wigs, I was shocked.

And I had health insurance. I know I’m getting hit with bills I hadn’t anticipated. I can only imagine how Silvia Flores and Clara Castillo felt being diagnosed with cancer during a period of their lives without health insurance. The last thing we, and our families, should be stressing about is the financial burden of how to make life as close to normal again.

The reality is, that financial anxiety can throw a terrible wrench into recovery. After all, we fight and fight and fight to survive, but survive and, then, face what? Terrible financial sacrifices our families have made? Not being able to afford health or life insurance again? Losing our homes because we  gave up paying mortgage and rent to cover medical costs instead?

On the contrary, what if we put off getting treatment for fear of the financial ramifications? Will the consequences be worse than facing the situation hands on? If we don’t nip things in the bud, will the medical costs be even worse?

So, let me ask you: Have you ever allowed fear of the unknown, lack of insurance, financial constraints prevent you from getting medical screening? If so, have you been able to find resources in the area so allay the financial burdens? How have you handled the issue in your own life?

Rica Mendes

Divorced mom of two kids. Full-time marketing professional at Axxun. Mary Kay Consultant. Bike shop employee. LIVESTRONG Leader. Bike commuter. Charity cyclist. Mountain bikeracer. Blogger at Rica's Livestrong Adventures And, now, as if I didn't have enough to do, breast cancer fighter. Diagnosis: 7/19/2011. Double Mastectomy: 8/19/2011. Chemo: 9/29/2011. Head will be shaved: 10/16/2011.