Debt Articles Medical Related

We Have a Lot of Debt From Colon Cancer Treatment. – Valerie

I recently used a non profit debt consolidation co. to reduce my credit card debt.

Later that month I won a law settlement of $20,000. I thought this would be a good safety net to stay away from credit cards.

A month later my husband was diagnosed with 3rd stage colon cancer. He had surgery. He started chemo. We have health insurance. My husband has not been able to work since. The chemo put him in the hospital in Jan. I also stepped down in position at work to take care of him.

We still have a teenager living at home.Jan. was also when the co-pays and out of pocket expenses had to be paid as well.

Now, I have paid most of the medical expenses. I still have a $3,400 hospital bill not paid yet. I have to pay $2000.00 in federal income tax and escrow came out short, I owe mortgage co. $2000.00 which I can pay monthly.

I have only about $3000.00 left in savings. My husband is on a different chemo and plans to return to work soon. But I am afraid I will soon be in big trouble as far as my expenses being more than my income. I have been trying to apply for cancer grants. Any other suggestions? Thank You


Dear Valerie,

If I could tun back the clock I would have advised you to stop paying your unsecured creditors and not enter any debt repayment program until we saw where this was going to go. I’m very familiar with the issues surrounding cancer and the expense of treating it. My mother is currently battling ovarian cancer.

My advice at this point is to get ready for a possible bankruptcy in the near future. I’d stop paying all your credit card and other unsecured debt and focus on making it month-to-month right now. And right about here is where people will say I don’t know what I’m talking about. And yet I do.

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The current situation needs to be one in which we prioritize expenditures based on needs rather than desires.

I know your husband plans to return to work soon but these things can change quickly and until we know the new chemo is doing what it is supposed to do, there is no guarantee the plan will unfold that way. We can’t plan that it will work out one way or another, just deal with what we see happening on a daily basis.

The little bit of money you have left needs to be preserved and guarded carefully to provide for food, shelter, and clothing before anything else.

Let the other debts pile up and when we think this current unfortunate medical situation is over you should probably consider bankruptcy to close the door on the old debt and focus on doing better moving forward.

The financial situation is painful but let’s not lose sight of the good things that are going on here as well. Your husband was diagnosed, treated, and may have a good chance of beating his cancer. That’s something to really be grateful for. The debt, well it just is what it is.

And now you know why one of the leading causes of bankruptcy is medical debt. Illness impacts so much stuff in your life that is begins to snowball.

I’d suggest you do a little prior planning and click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and go meet with them now. That doesn’t mean you are going to file, just get more knowledge and information in case it works out that way.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • I think I will contact the debt co. and see if I can work out something. I really would rather avoid bankruptcy. I am still applying for grants and financial aid. But I will follow your advice and I appreciate your answer. I am thankful and hopeful and I will pray for your Mom,as will. Thank You.  Valerie

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