The issue: Cancer patients can face crippling financial hardship, forcing some into bankruptcy. Solutions: All provinces should cover the cost of expensive out-of-hospital cancer drugs; government benefit programs should better respond to cancer patients’ needs.
Monica Pope probably didn’t need to be told the breast cancer that doctors diagnosed in 2014 was aggressive: one day she suddenly saw the tumour pressing up from under her skin.
What followed was the full traumatic panoply of cancer treatment, including three surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
But that was not all. Complications from surgery mean Pope, 51, has been unable to work at her technical sales job the past 34 months and now must find a new occupation. Even when her workplace disability finally kicked in after 19 weeks, it paid the single woman $23,000 less than her annual salary.
Add in expenses like drugs and hospital parking, and last year Pope felt forced to take drastic action. In a country that prides itself on looking after the sick, no matter their ability to pay, she declared personal bankruptcy because of cancer.
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