Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Cancer patients often start two battles after diagnosis: They have to fight their disease and avoid financial ruin.

Hospitals and patient advocates around the U.S. are rushing to offer more help for the latter as treatment costs soar and insurance coverage shrinks. They say patients who get overwhelmed by bills often delay treatment or cut back on prescriptions, which hurts their care.

Cancer has long been expensive to treat, but several factors are making the financial sting more intense. Insurers are tightening their prescription coverage and raising patient costs like deductibles. Plus newer treatments are more tolerable so patients stay on them longer.

Doctors and aid organizations are pushing patients to start thinking about how they’ll pay for treatment at diagnosis instead of waiting for a financial crisis to hit.