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Many Breast Cancer Survivors Struggle With Debt

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A report released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed that half of people with breast cancer are regularly contacted by debt collectors. Over 1,054 people were involved in the study. Forty-nine percent of the people stated that debt collectors had contacted them about their medical bills.

Stephanie Wheeler works for the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Care Center. She was also one of the people involved in the study. She stated that she and her colleagues found that there was a high rate of debt collection among breast cancer patients.

Nate Handley works at the Kimmel Cancer Center, which is located at Jefferson University. She stated that the results of the study illustrate how much cancer patients are hurt financially by medical bills. Ninety percent of uninsured people were contacted by a debt collector. Only 30 percent of insured people were contacted by a debt collector.

The report did not show how often the people were contacted by debt collectors. It also did not show how the people were contacted. There are a variety of ways that debt collectors contact people. Debt collectors contact people via email, mail or phone.

Stephanie noted that the results of the report may be skewed. For example, there may be people in the survey who are struggling with debt, but they have never been contacted by a debt collector. She also stated that the mean age of the people in the survey was 42 years. That is relatively young for a breast cancer patient.

The people were asked if they had enough money to cover their medical bills. When people do not have enough money to cover their treatments, they are likely to be pursued by debt collectors. Sixty-eight percent of breast cancer patients stated that they worried about how they were going to pay their medical bills.

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