The corona pandemic continues to pose major challenges to the health and social system in Germany. Cancer patients are also affected. In addition to oncological care, COVID-19 often exacerbates the financial situation of those affected. Short-time work or even the loss of a job is an additional burden.
Even before the pandemic, the German Cancer Aid and cancer self-help organizations noted that there was an acute need for action regarding the financial situation of cancer patients. They fear that the corona crisis could further increase the risk of poverty. In a joint position paper, the German Cancer Aid and the Federal Association - House of Cancer Self-help point out deficits and appeal to representatives of politics and social insurance institutions to immediately improve the financial situation of affected cancer patients.
Progress in medicine
"Fortunately, progress in medicine has led to better chances of curing many oncological diseases," said Gerd Nettekoven, Chairman of the Board of German Cancer Aid. "As research on cancer survivors has shown, long-term survival is often associated with a loss of quality of life, physical and psychological limitations, but also with financial losses. Only 56 percent of working cancer patients return to work completely after therapy!
Income decreases, data increase
Studies show that cancer affects the economic situation of many people - including young families whose main breadwinner is ill, the self-employed, single earners or low-wage earners. Income decreases and expenses increase. The additional expenses include, for example, personal contributions and co-payments for medically necessary medication, sick leave and additional costs for childcare or domestic help. During the course of their illness, cancer patients also have to go to great lengths to file applications and provide evidence. Bureaucratic hurdles arise in connection with sickness benefits, rehabilitation or professional reintegration, among other things. "In addition to the physical and psychological limitations caused by the disease, this is an enormous additional burden for those affected," says Ernst-Günther Carl, Chairman of the Board of the German Cancer Self-Help Association (HKSH-BV).
Unsettled by the pandemic
"Since the Corona crisis, numerous cancer patients who are unsettled by the pandemic have been contacting us," said Nettekoven. "In addition to questions about therapy and aftercare, those affected also describe to us their financial worries and burdens caused by Corona. This particularly concerns people who are worried about their livelihood because of short-time work or because they have already been laid off. Carl adds: "We assume that such inquiries will increase considerably as soon as the economic consequences of the pandemic become more apparent."
1400 people in Germany are diagnosed with cancer every day
In Germany, 1,400 new cases of cancer occur every day. "This number makes it more than clear that cancer is a central health problem in our society," says Nettekoven. "It is therefore extremely important that cancer patients receive optimal care in every respect. This also includes financial security in certain life situations in order to be able to cope with the disease or live with it without worries. pm, ots, mei