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Breast cancer and no insurance

Posts: 84
Joined: Dec 2011

A family member of mine has been diagnosed with Stage I DCIS. The doctor gave her the option lumpectomy w. radiation or mastectomy. She has no insurance at all. What do people do in such situations? It is horrifying, not only does one have to face hearing the word "you have cancer", but now she has to worry how on earth she will pay her medical bills. Although she is a very good candidate for lumpectomy + radiation she is considering a double mastectomy and reconstruction, because she thinks its cheaper. I am outraged that one has to make such serious medical decisions because of cost. Does anyone have an idea or suggestion where she could go or whom to contact? We live in Texas, which is pretty much at the bottom of social services/health care. Any suggestions are appreciated.
thanks, Margeaux

Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

She needs to get into contact with the financial department where she's being treated..and their social worker....all hospitals and cancer centers have both.....many will simply, write-off her costs....or they will work out reasonable payment plans.....

Having double mastectomy with reconstruction can be very expensive....involves the surgeon and usually a plastic surgeon....and a much longer recovery period... I had a lumpectomy at 1:00 PM and was home, resting comfortably by 4:15....very little pain, mostly just discomfort...

Her stage 1 DCIS means the cancer is small and contained....personally i'd opt for the lumpectomy and any subsequent treatment....

Hugs, Nancy

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

I think most cancer centers will allow her to make payments and many even have a special fund that will pay for everything if the patient cannot afford it. Have her talk to the social worker and her onco at the cancer center and see what they can do. Also, contact the American Cancer Society and see if they can help.

Good luck,


camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

I agree with Nancy, cancer centers have financial and most have social workers that will have the information for help in her area. She should also check with the local chapter of ACS. They should be able to give her information on where she can get help.

You are right, it is a shame that insurance and money dictates were we are as far as medical treatment, but that is why we need some kind of affordable medical services in the US. Most COBRA options are so expensive, I know this as my ex and I have been helping my son, who was between jobs keep up COBRA, but there was no way he can afford to be without insurance.

Hope for the best for her.

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

here and had I not had to have lymph nodes removed my surgeon would have allowed me to go to work that night 3rd shift as my duties were very light. Of course I had to have them removed and then only stayed overnight. I had a diffent type of bc than she does but it is much simpler at stage 1 for any of the breast cancers.

Marcia527's picture
Posts: 2749
Joined: Jul 2006

Texas has a insurance program for people who can't get insurance. But it is expensive. You also have to have continual coverage and can't get other insurance including COBRA. They did have a program for people who qualify may get cheaper rates.


It has been a long time ago that I was on it. Things might have changed. It'd be best that she take a look herself.

jessiesmom1's picture
Posts: 874
Joined: Jun 2010

Every state has a pre-existing insurance plan available to its residents. Some of these plans are run by the State and some are run by the U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services. In TEXAS, the Pre-Existing Insurance Plan is run by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. The plan can be reached at 866-717-5826 from 8am to 11pm Eastern Time. Your family member can also apply online and get further information at www.pcip.gov/apply.html

I hope this is of some help. It is a shame when one has to live with the financial stress of breast cancer along with the disease itself.


Posts: 84
Joined: Dec 2011

Thanks everybody, I'll pass the info on to her She had checked previously into the Texas High Risk pool. The premium quoted to her was so high she could not afford it, who plans on having cancer? I gave her the pcip.gov website, she needs to hurry. Her cancer was diagnosed Grade 2, almost Grade 3. I feel so helpless.

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