Cancer is often an aggressive, frightening disease. It can develop in many parts of the body, but for women, breast cancer is one of the more common forms. Many people don’t realize they have breast cancer until they find a lump or start developing symptoms. Getting diagnosed with breast cancer can feel terrifying.

Luckily, medical treatments have improved significantly in the last few decades. The survival rate for breast cancer and other serious forms of cancer has gone up significantly. Unfortunately, those who must undergo intensive therapies for breast cancer are also confronted with the potential for significant medical debt that persists for years.

Breast cancer patients often have to pay a lot of money out of pocket for treatment

The for-profit medical system leaves many people struggling to afford care that is necessary for their survival. Cancer treatments can cost thousands of dollars per session, as can imaging tests necessary to determine the location and status of cancer. There are also surgeries and other medical needs to consider.

Many women end up paying 10 percent or more of their household’s annual income for cancer treatment. Even after paying all of that money out of pocket, there will likely still be some debt left over. Medical bills can keep coming in for many weeks after patients receive medical care. This can leave these women with substantial medical debt and increase the risk of aggressive debt collection in the future.

Even with good health insurance, there are co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles to consider. Many people cannot continue working while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, leaving them without adequate financial resources to cover all their household expenses and medical costs.

Bankruptcy may help those in remission get a real fresh start

You shouldn’t have to drown in medical debt after successfully battling cancer. For those who are not working or who have limited assets, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a good option. For women who have a well-established household or who have a spouse with substantial income, chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the better choice. What’s important is that both forms of bankruptcy offer protection against ongoing debt collection. Is hardly fair for someone who has had to fight against cancer to now face financial hardship for years to come over the treatment they needed to survive.

There is still some stigma attached to bankruptcy. This leads many people to put off pursuing this important step to have a fresh start after cancer treatment. However, for those who struggle to pay the bills in the wake of a breast cancer diagnosis, bankruptcy is often a solid option. You may need to educate yourself about your rights to file bankruptcy to resolve your medical debt.