Photo of Aishling Flynn

The Real Cost of Cancer: Aisling's story

Aisling was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. She was 40 at the time and was working as a part-time yoga teacher. On her diagnosis she gave up work at a loss of approx. €15,000 a year. Her husband is a teacher so they had to manage solely on his salary. She says it was really difficult financially with extra costs on heating, food and childcare, and they pretty much scraped by.

At the time of her diagnosis, Aisling’s children were 3 and 7. The family didn’t have health insurance. They just about managed to pay the bills but they didn't go on holiday and the children couldn't do any after school activities. 

Aisling found the from cancer recovery very tough and says it took her five years to feel normal again. During her cancer journey she had a single mastectomy, chemotherapy, reconstruction and was on tamoxifen which affected her badly with her mood and anxiety.

She went for private counselling and alternative therapies to try and counter this which was a huge extra cost to her. During her treatment Aisling was getting bills and debt collection letters for the inpatient charges related to her hospital stay. She didn’t receive a medical card until after her treatment ended.

Aisling now teaches yoga again and gives grinds and marks papers. She says in previous job interviews she has lied about her break from work and said she was focusing on her family, as she felt she couldn't tell them she had cancer in case it affected her job prospects.