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Young cancer patients filing for bankruptcy at higher rates

Life often throws unexpected curveballs. Sadly, all too often those unexpected events involve either deep physical or emotional pain. Perhaps one of the worst unexpected life changes involves a devastating medical diagnosis like cancer. As if finding out you have cancer is not bad enough, the expenses associated with the necessary medical care can be astronomical. A new study has found that these increasing costs have had disastrous financial consequences for young cancer patients.

The study, conducted by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, found cancer patients younger than 65 years of age have a two to five times higher rate of bankruptcy than those cancer patients over age 65. Additionally, cancer patients were found to have a nearly three times higher rate of bankruptcy than those without cancer. These financial difficulties can put these individuals in a position where paying for their home and taking care of their family is almost impossible.

Fortunately, when unexpected life changes arise, legal avenues exist to help alleviate or eliminate debt. Filing for bankruptcy is one of the best ways for struggling individuals to get a fresh start. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for the elimination of debt after non-exempt assets have been liquidated to pay the debt. Chapter 13, on the other hand, allows an individual to protect certain assets like a house while restructuring the debt so that the individual can have more manageable payments.

When one learns she has a severe medical condition the focus should be on obtaining a full recovery and living a full, healthy, happy life. Medical expenses that are impossible to pay and are ruining an individual's life should be dealt with so the medical condition does not keep her drowning in debt. Cancer patients deserve better than to spend their life fighting a physical ailment and a financial one.

Source: The Daily, "Study finds younger cancer patients have a higher rate of bankruptcy," Chris Lopaze, Jun. 4, 2013