The financial impact of cancer

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Learn how cancer can financially impact you and your family, and the resources available to help you manage.

Key points

  • The health-care coverage that you have can vary depending on where you live. If you have private insurance, contact the company to understand exactly what it will and will not cover.
  • Keep records of all your expenses, including copies of bills and receipts.
  • There are multiple resources available to help you plan your finances, apply for financial assistance and stay organized.

Many families caring for a child with cancer face financial challenges during treatment, recovery and follow up. These challenges come from a variety of sources:

  • travel and parking expenses
  • medication, childcare, home care or nutritional supplement expenses
  • lost income due to reduced hours of work or, perhaps, unemployment
  • inability to draw on assistance programs to supplement lost income

For many families, financial worries represent a major concern. This added stress can have a negative effect on the well-being of all family members and can cause financial issues into the future.

Health insurance

Your first step is to understand more about your health insurance. Coverage varies between provinces and many non-medical costs are not covered by provincial health insurance. If you have private insurance, contact the company to understand exactly what it will and will not cover. You may have to pay a percentage of your expenses or there may be either a time or cost limit for certain services. You may wish to explore whether your insurance company is willing to assign a case worker to assist you with your needs if you are regularly in contact with them.

It is extremely important to keep good records of your expenses, including copies of bills and receipts. These are important for making insurance claims. You may also be able to claim some expenses on your tax return.


  • An account manager at your bank is a good resource. They can help you budget and plan your finances.
  • The social worker on your child’s health-care team can also help you learn more about financial assistance programs you may be eligible to access.
  • The Canadian Cancer Society offers an information service that directs you to resources and assistance available in your area.
  • If you have the resources, an accountant may also provide you with helpful advice and assistance with organizing your receipts and claims.
  • For full information on reimbursement (refunds) for prescription medication in Canada, visit the page on the Government of Canada's website about Provincial and Territorial Public Drug Benefit Programs.
Last updated: September 3rd 2019