LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - It's estimated that one out of eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The diagnosis is frightening; but it's not only the emotional toll, it's also a financial strain for most families.
The monthly out-of-pocket cost for someone fighting breast cancer is often more than they can handle. For treatment alone, it's estimated that these bills often reach nearly $10,000 a year or more after insurance pays. Because of that, more families are turning to the internet to help them lighten the financial burden of medical expenses.
Families, like the Young's in Long Beach.
Chuck and Sarah Young have been through a lot during their lives, but now they're facing one of their toughest battles yet. Sarah was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I did feel a lump and had a mammogram, and he immediately wanted to schedule surgery," said Sarah. "I had the lumpectomy and it was malignant."
Sara is scheduled for a double mastectomy and reconstruction next week. She's still struggling with the reality of the diagnosis.
"It seems not real," Sarah said. "I'm still coming to grips with that."
But she's also coming to grips with the mounting bills. Chuck and Sarah both work full-time and have health insurance, but they say even before the surgery, out-of-pocket expense are already several thousand dollars.
"It's a major stressful issue. Of course, I'll be off work for several weeks," said Sarah. "My husband having to take off work is substantial, and that lack of income compounds the stress you're already going through."
Chuck says those out-of-pocket expenses and knowing he'll miss work after the surgery led him to do something he never thought he would need to do. He has set up a site on GoFundMe.com asking for donations.
"I set it up begrudgingly because she didn't want me to," explained Chuck. "We are private people. We don't normally ask for help but we set up this site."
Once Chuck persuaded her to go along with it, Sarah decided it was okay to ask for help.
"It's about people helping people because you never know when you might need it yourself," said Sarah.
Like so many people, they hope the donations will help offset the unexpected medical expenses.
In the meantime, while Sarah waits for surgery, she's trying to stay optimistic.
"You just have to push forward," she said. "There are so many women survivor stories out there and I can do it too."
Sarah wants to remind women to get their annual mammogram. She said she was overdue by about a year and believes having her annual mammogram on schedule would have led to earlier detection, which could have improved her outcome and treatment options.