“When it rains, it pours,” goes the slightly nonsensical old saying. And indeed, it’s true that when trouble comes, it sometimes doubles up.
A case in point is a cancer diagnosis and financial problems. And according to research published this week, people with cancer are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as people who do not have cancer.
On one level, this finding is hardly surprising. Medical debt is well known to be one of the major causes of bankruptcy, both in the San Antonio area and across the country. But to see the correlation between the two events – cancer and bankruptcy – quantified in this way is still difficult.
And yet forming a difficult thought can also be a way of moving forward. After all, bankruptcy is not the bogeyman. For many people, it is a viable way of gaining significant debt relief and a fresh financial start.
The study on the connection between cancer diagnosis and bankruptcy was conducted at a cancer research center in Seattle. It has been published in a journal called Health Affairs.
Overall, the study found that the likelihood of filing for bankruptcy is more than 2.5 times higher for people with a cancer diagnosis than it is for other people. But the study also showed some interesting age differences among the patients in their survey sample. Younger people who were diagnosed with cancer were more likely to file for bankruptcy to resolve medical debt than older people.
The researchers attributed this to the debt-to-income ratios that are typical for people earlier in life. After all, it’s hard to have much of a nest egg built up when you’re raising children and trying to pay off student loans.
Source: “Cancer patients more than twice as likely to go bankrupt,” CBS News, Ryan Jaslow, 5-16-13