Cost of Cancer: Why the Conversation Matters

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michelle2This has been a huge week for us here at The Samfund– as many of you may know, we just had our very first peer-reviewed article published in Cancer Medicine found here! We realized some time ago that we had been sitting on a gold mine of information over the past many years– all the data our grant recipients had provided us in their applications and follow-up surveys. “Financial toxicity” and the cost of cancer have been all over the news, but nothing specific to our YA (young adult) population.

We knew we had a unique story to tell, and decided to analyze our data to offer a new and unique perspective to add to the conversation. We were fortunate to partner up with terrific co-authors, and after many months of hard work, our paper is out there, highlighting the financial challenges YAs face post-treatment. As you can see below, the difference in net worth (the sum of all your assets and debts) between the average young adult and our grant recipients (same general age, way different medical history) is staggering. Notice that average young adults are at about $68,000. Now take a look at our YAs. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you– that’s NEGATIVE $35,000. We think that’s some pretty attention-grabbing (and terrible) stuff, and a huge reason why this conversation needs to happen.

Figure 2 cost of cancerWhile this is a giant accomplishment for The Samfund (and for me personally, as the lead author), our larger goal is to draw attention to the unique financial struggles YAs face due to their age and stage of life. Our hope is that this paper makes the rounds in both financial and medical communities. Now that we have this data to back up the importance of Samfund programs, we are positioned to make an even bigger impact and are grateful for the opportunity to lend our voice to the larger discussion taking place around cancer and finances.

There’s a well-known metaphor of academic papers being like “bricks in the wall of research”– built one at a time. We’re so proud to have officially added our (first) brick to the wall.

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