Irish adults underestimate the real cost of cancer, research finds

Irish adults underestimate the real cost of cancer, research finds

Cork woman Elaine Bradley has spoken of the financial impact a cancer diagnosis can have. 

New research has revealed that Irish adults are not fully aware of the costs associated with a cancer diagnosis, with more than 60% underestimating monthly additional costs.

According to the recent findings, a total of 64% of Irish adults admit they have worried about or thought about receiving a cancer diagnosis.

However, just 28% of those surveyed said they had the financial protection required if they were ever to be diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness.

The research, which was carried out on behalf of insurance company AIG, also found that while almost 80% of Irish adults would anticipate extra expenses if they were diagnosed with cancer or a serious illness, the majority still underestimate the additional monthly costs.

Some 64% said they would expect additional costs to come to between €100 to €500 a month. However, the average expected monthly cost is estimated to be €1,104.

A survey completed by the Marie Keating Foundation also found that more than half of patients were more focused on financial worries than on their own treatment, recovery, and wellbeing.

Increased stress

In addition, 43% said they had experienced increased stress while 45% suffered from anxiety as a direct result of the added financial pressure of the diagnosis. 

Elaine Bradley from Co Cork was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2020. The diagnosis came as a shock to her and her family.

“The fact that it [cancer] had just come knocking on my own front door, I think I just went into shock basically," she said.

After the news had time to settle, the question of finances followed but luckily, Ms Bradley's insurance covered the costs, which had been a worry.

She noted the importance of financial support along with emotional support in the case of a cancer diagnosis. 

“It was so relieving to know there was a bit of security behind us. That was a worry for me,” she said.

Echoing the findings of AIG's research, Ms Bradley said there are a lot of costs associated with having cancer that people are unaware of – from consultations and medication to surgery.

Commenting on the research, John Clear, head of accident and health at AIG Ireland, said that while a person is diagnosed with cancer about every three minutes in Ireland, many of us are not financially prepared for this.

“By planning ahead and investing in financial cover, you can help insulate yourself from the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis and focus instead on you and your loved ones," he said.

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