While we like to imagine ourselves and out loved ones as healthy and living a long life, the reality is that a health issue related to an injury or a disease could strike at any time. A major illness, such as cancer, leaves patients facing many obstacles beyond just fighting the illness. Fighting cancer often means time away from work, lengthy recovery time and the inability to do normal daily activities. This can quickly turn a person’s life upside down, all while medical bills continue to pile up and no money is coming in because he or she is not working.

Cancer patients and those diagnosed with a chronic illness are faced with a difficult question. Should they go through with treatment, which means facing large medical bills, or should they forego treatment and ultimately die from his or her condition. With healthcare costs being so high in conjunction with the raising costs of health insurance, affording such a treatment can seem impossible.

A recent study found that of the 9.5 million Americans that were newly diagnosed with cancer and were 50-years-old or older, the vast majority of these individuals faced financial toxicity. This was a result of the costs associated with their cancer treatment.

Cancer treatment has both direct and indirect costs. In the U.S., direct costs exceed $80 billion while indirect costs exceed $130 billion. With roughly 6.5% of direct costs involving out-of-pocket payments, over half of all cancer patients experience negative financial fates. This includes foreclosure, vehicle repossession, loss of independence and relationship breakdowns. Furthermore, many have no choice but to go through a debt relief process.

Medical bills can take over a person’s life. Without a doubt, an individual wants to do whatever they can to ensure they are healthy, but that can come with a hefty price tag. One does not have to live with the burden of medical debt, and it is possible to overcome is situation. There are debt relief options available to help one better manage this debt or even erase it entirely.