Overview of our 2015 Real Cost of Cancer report

Medical costs

Specific average costs on medical care per month include:

  • €303 spent on medical costs that cannot be claimed back. They include things like over-the-counter medication, hospital stays, specialist dressings and GP visits. These costs affect 77% of cancer patients;

  • Four out of five cancer patients pay an additional €69 to cover the medication they need to manage the side effects of their treatment (for example, fatigue and nausea).

Specific average costs on day-to-day household expenses per month include:

  • €226 on increase in childcare costs as a result of not being able to care for dependents;

  • €153 on increased food and drink expenses because of the time being spent out of the home;

  • €140 on increased heating and electricity bills (chemotherapy patients often feel the cold worse than people not going through treatment);

  • €99 on additional domestic support;

  • €53 on increased phone bills.

Specific average costs on travel expenses per month include:

  • €166 on traveling to and from appointments;

  • €62 on hospital parking;

  • €179 on other costs associated with appointments.

On average, one off purchases cost cancer patients:

  • €891 to modify their home;

  • €653 on dental work and care;

  • €511 on wigs and hair pieces;

  • €215 on specialist equipment for the home (example, a commode);

  • €704 on ‘other’ one-off costs.

Loss of income

In almost all cases, cancer patients are working less as a result of having cancer. Many have either retired or become unemployed.

  • 60% of cancer patients are on a reduced level of income since they were diagnosed;

  • The reduction on average is €16,785 per annum or €1,400 per month.

Are you affected by the real cost of cancer?

See our information about financial and travel supports. We also have a free information service for patients who need to know what supports are available.

See our booklet Managing the Financial Impact of Cancer or call the Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700 or drop into one of our Daffodil Centres, located in hospitals nationwide.

If you are affected by cancer and have financial worries, please call the Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700 or email cancernurseline@irishcancer.ie.

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Date Last Reviewed: 
Tuesday, May 21, 2019