Paying for the Cancer Bills
- A Florida mom spent her life savings caring for her daughter as she battled breast cancer.
- But her sacrifice was repaid when she won a $2 million lottery ticket the very day after her daughter finished treatment.
- Excluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in American women.
- New lumps in the breast or underarm are common symptoms of breast cancer. Swelling, skin dimpling or peeling of the breasts are other visual cues women should be looking out for when checking for signs of breast cancer.
- Any sum of money caused by the unexpected diagnosis of a harrowing disease can cause immense stress, but individual costs vary greatly depending upon treatment intensity and duration, survival rates and the stage of the cancer.
- Medicare and private health insurance companies sometimes cover treatment costs for qualified cancer patients, but they might not cover everything.
- A patient navigator can help you understand your share of the costs and what options might be available to you to help pay the bills.
Cancer treatment can be expensive, as one Florida mom knows all too well.
Geraldine Gimblet sacrificed so much when she tapped into her life savings to help care for her daughter as she battled breast cancer. But as luck would have it, Gimblet was repaid and more when she won a $2 million scratch-off lottery ticket the very day after her daughter finished treatment!Read More
“At first the gas station clerk thought there were no tickets left, but I asked him to double check because I like the crossword games the best. He found the last one,” Geraldine Gimblet said. In the above photo, Geraldine Gimblet is shown in the center with her daughter on the right and her granddaughter on the left. Ironically, the Gimblet family was already on the path to good fortune. Just before Geraldine purchased her winning lottery ticket, her daughter’s battle with breast cancer ended an important chapter. “The day before my mom bought this ticket, I rang the bell and walked out of the hospital after completing my last treatment for breast cancer,” said Gimblet’s daughter, who has not been publicly named. “My mom had taken out her life savings to take care of me when I was sick,” Geraldine’s daughter added, making the winning much more emotional for the family.
When Geraldine Gimblet of #Lakeland picked up the last $2,000,000 BONUS CASHWORD Scratch-Off game, her passion for crossword games paid off to the tune of a $2 million-dollar top prize, but that’s just the beginning of a truly, winning story! 👉https://t.co/q5mFPaUHR4 pic.twitter.com/mv55B9zmz9— Florida Lottery (@floridalottery) April 7, 2023
More breast cancer warriors
- ‘Good Morning America’ Anchor Amy Robach Says Touching Poem from her Daughter Ava Helped Her Through Breast Cancer Battle
- ‘Killer of Kongs,’ Jokes Actress Shannen Doherty of Her Dog Bowie As They Play Outside Together Amid Her Breast Cancer Battle
- 34-Year-Old Mom’s Armpit Pain Dismissed as ‘Ingrown Hair’ – It Was Breast Cancer: How She Stayed Strong for Her Little Baby at Home
- Dancing Mom Of Two With Breast Cancer Makes It To The Kelly Clarkson Show: Still Finding Joy
Battling Breast CancerExcluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in American women. Currently, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors living in the U.S.
According to SurvivorNet’s medical experts, you’re more likely to develop breast cancer if you have one or more of these risk factors:
- You’re older: Your risk for this cancer rises, the older you get. That doesn’t mean that you’re destined to get breast cancer as you age, or that young people are immune to it. You just need to be more vigilant about screenings as you get older.
- You have a gene mutation: Some women inherit changes to genes like BRCA1 or BRCA2, that increase their risk for breast cancer. Genetic tests can find these changes early, acting as an early warning for women to take preventive steps.
- You were exposed to estrogen for longer: Estrogen is a hormone that helps some breast cancers grow. Getting your period early (before age 12) or starting menopause late (after age 55), increases your exposure to this hormone.
- You waited to have children: Your risk may be higher if you waited to have children until after age 30, or you never gave birth. The risk is only slightly higher, meaning that you’re not definitely going to get breast cancer, just because you waited to have children.
- You were exposed to radiation: Being exposed to radiation early in life; for example, during treatment for a cancer like Hodgkin’s lymphoma, can increase your risk of breast cancer later in life.
- You have a family or personal history of breast cancer: Having cancer in your family, or going through treatment yourself, can make you more likely to be diagnosed.
Medical experts say breast cancer symptoms can present in a few different ways. New lumps in the breast or underarm are common symptoms of breast cancer. Swelling, skin dimpling or peeling of the breasts are other visual cues women should be looking out for when checking for signs of breast cancer.
A mammogram is the primary test doctors use to screen for breast cancer.
If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as new lumps or nipple changes, ask your doctor about getting a mammogram or other screening tests. Remember that you’re the best expert on your own health and what’s normal, or not, for your body. SurvivorNet’s experts recommend that you do regular breast self-exams.
Treating Breast Cancer
According to SurvivorNet experts, 90% of women who get breast cancer now live after treatment.
Despite the huge trauma of the disease, it’s an amazingly hopeful and exciting field, says SurvivorNet Medical Advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Comen.
These days it’s not just about the stage of your breast cancer. Hormones, biology, and genetics should all play a role in determining your treatment.
WATCH: Breast Cancer Introduction to Prevention & Screening.
Breast cancer treatment options may include:
Most women with breast cancer will have surgery at some point in their treatment. Depending on how far your cancer has spread and your personal preferences, you and your doctor may decide to:
- Remove just the cancer and an area of healthy tissue around it (lumpectomy)
- Remove one breast (mastectomy)
- Remove both breasts (double mastectomy)
Your Options While Juggling Expensive Cancer Care
Gimblet’s lottery winnings netted her $1,645,000 with the lump sum payout.
While her stroke of luck can help replenish the life savings she spent caring for her daughter through breast cancer, what can you do if you don’t have a winning lottery ticket to keep you financially afloat?
SurvivorNet has some tips and worthy advice to help answer questions related to managing unexpected cancer bills.
Any sum of money caused by the unexpected diagnosis of a harrowing disease can cause immense stress, but individual costs vary greatly depending upon treatment intensity and duration, survival rates and the stage of the cancer.
Medicare and private health insurance companies sometimes cover treatment costs for qualified cancer patients, but they might not cover everything. And when a claim is denied, Dr. Kristine Zanotti says it is “incumbent upon the clinician” to do something about it.
The cost of cancer care affects many things, including, unfortunately, therapy options. But it’s important to try to get multiple opinions after a doctor makes a treatment recommendation. Certain therapies that might be the best option for your specific cancer, however, can sometimes seem out of reach for people simply because of the cost.
No matter the treatment, it’s important to know what kind of costs you’ll be looking at when all is said and done. To help with that, try connecting with someone from your cancer center who can explain your share of the costs, like a patient navigator, before you decide on a therapy.
A patient navigator may also be able to help you understand what options are available to you if you need help paying the bills.
Learn more about SurvivorNet's rigorous medical review process.