Medical bills and treatment costs are the last thing you want to think about after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Despite all of the options available nowadays, substantial efforts are required to make sure you’re secure on that front. Thankfully, American Life Fund (ALF) has broken down the many resources available to help ease this burden.

By connecting with your healthcare team and partnering with ALF, you can find these resources and get the financial assistance you need to focus more on healing and less on financial worries. Asking for help is a strong step forward. With the right resources, you can lighten the load of medical expenses and concentrate on recovery.

Blog feature image with someone holding a purple ribbon and a caption that says pancreatic cancer

What to Expect Financially as a Pancreatic Cancer Patient

The costs associated with treating pancreatic cancer are staggering to say the least. On average, the lifetime cost of pancreatic cancer treatment in the U.S. can reach up to $174,000.

Even with insurance, the financial strain on families can be significant, with out-of-pocket expenses ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 per month, depending on the treatment plan.

Major expenses include hospitalization and surgery (up to $25,000 per hospital stay), chemotherapy ($1,000 to $12,000 per month), and targeted therapies (up to $30,000 per month). In-home care and supportive services add to the financial burden.

While insurance covers a large portion of these expenses, around 20% of the costs can still fall on the patient and their family. This doesn’t account for indirect costs, such as lost income due to caregiving responsibilities.

How To Find Financial Assistance For Pancreatic Cancer Patients

Contacting Your Healthcare Team:

Your healthcare team is your initial resource. Reach out to your oncologist, social worker, or patient navigator, as they can connect you to local and national programs, understand your unique needs, and recommend suitable assistance programs.

Nonprofit Organizations:

Nonprofit organizations like Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) and CancerCare provide valuable patient support. They offer various assistance programs, including financial aid, information resources, and emotional support.

Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs:

Pharmaceutical companies frequently have programs to assist patients with the costs of prescription medications. Your healthcare provider can help you identify and apply for these programs.

Local Support Services:

Explore your area’s local organizations, community centers, and cancer support groups. These resources often provide financial aid, transportation services, and emotional support. Contact them or visit their offices to inquire about available programs.

Online Resources:

Several online databases and websites, like the Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC), NeedyMeds, and, are dedicated to helping you find specific financial assistance programs.

Social Workers and Patient Navigators:

Social workers and patient navigators at hospitals and cancer treatment centers are experienced in assisting patients with financial support. They can provide valuable guidance and information on available resources.

Pancreatic Cancer-Specific Financial Grants From Organizations

For individuals facing the financial challenges associated with being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, some organizations specifically offer both financial aid and grants tailored to the unique needs of pancreatic cancer patients. These grants cover medical expenses, treatment, and other related financial burdens. Here are some noteworthy organizations that provide such support:

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN):

PanCAN offers financial support through its “Know Your Tumor” precision medicine service, which helps identify treatment options and clinical trials. Additionally, PanCAN provides Patient Central, a valuable resource for financial assistance information, support groups, and clinical trial matching.

Pan Foundation:

Pan Foundation grants provide a fast, reliable way to pay for out-of-pocket medication costs, health insurance premiums, and transportation expenses. They offer grants to help you with out-of-pocket medication copay costs, health insurance premiums, and transportation for activities that benefit your overall health.

The Lustgarten Foundation:

The Lustgarten Foundation provides financial assistance through research grants dedicated to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. Although their primary focus is research, advancements in treatment and understanding the disease can indirectly alleviate financial burdens for patients and their families.

The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research:

The Hirshberg Foundation funds research and offers support services, including financial aid for pancreatic cancer patients. They understand patient challenges and aim to alleviate some of the financial burdens. Their longstanding partnership with Cancer Care allows patients to apply for a one-time grant to help cover the costs related to cancer treatment.


While not specific to pancreatic cancer, CancerCare offers financial assistance for needy cancer patients. They provide grants to help cover treatment costs, transportation, home care, and co-pays.

Patient Advocacy Foundations:

Various patient advocacy foundations and local nonprofit organizations may also assist pancreatic cancer patients financially. These organizations often work to address the specific needs of individuals within their communities.

Project Purple

Project Purple is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting patients, raising awareness, and educating the world about pancreatic cancer. They focus on improving patients’ lives through research for early detection and curative treatments, along with providing patient financial aid.

Accommodation During Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Housing is a big concern for pancreatic cancer patients, especially when undergoing treatment, which may require lengthy hospital stays or frequent visits to medical facilities.

The financial burden of lodging and related living expenses adds stress to an already challenging situation. To address these concerns, several programs and resources are available to provide housing and financial assistance during pancreatic cancer treatment:

American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge:

The American Cancer Society offers Hope Lodge facilities across the United States. These facilities provide free temporary lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers during treatment.

Joe’s House:

Joe’s House is an online directory that has information about lodging options near cancer treatment centers. It helps patients and their families find affordable and convenient places to stay.

Hospital-Based Lodging:

Many hospitals and cancer treatment centers offer on-site or nearby lodging options for patients and their families. 

Prescription Assistance

Managing the cost of prescription medications, pain medication and prescribed treatments is one of the largest financial challenges for pancreatic cancer patients. Fortunately, there are programs and resources available to help with these expenses:

Prescription Assistance Programs (PAPs):

Pharmaceutical companies offer Prescription Assistance Programs to give free or low-cost medications to eligible patients. These programs are a valuable resource for accessing expensive cancer medications.


NeedyMeds is a comprehensive resource that has information on prescription assistance programs, co-pay assistance, and free clinics. They also offer a medication discount card.


GoodRx is an online platform that helps patients compare prescription drug prices and find discounts and coupons for their medications.

Life Insurance

Life insurance exists to give financial security for your loved ones in the event of your passing, you may also have options to access the benefits during your lifetime through viatical settlements. For individuals with serious medical conditions such as pancreatic cancer, viatical settlements are a game changer:

A viatical settlement is a financial transaction in which a policyholder sells their life insurance policy to a third party in exchange for immediate cash funds. 

  • Benefit: By selling your life insurance policy through a viatical settlement , you can access a large, lump sum of cash, which may be used to cover medical expenses, debts, or other financial needs.
  • Eligibility: Eligibility for life settlements typically requires the policyholder to have a life insurance policy of $150,000 or more.

American Life Fund specializes in viatical settlements and is ready to help you.
You can learn more about viatical settlements and the process by going to our page.

Online Fundraising Platforms

Fundraising and crowdsourcing campaigns are powerful ways to generate financial support for pancreatic cancer patients and families. These initiatives help cover medical expenses, treatment, and related financial burdens. Here are some methods and platforms to consider:

  • GoFundMe: GoFundMe is a popular platform for creating personal fundraising campaigns. You set up a campaign, share your story, and accept donations from friends, family, and strangers.
  • Kickstarter: While Kickstarter is primarily known for creative projects, it’s also used to fund medical treatments and expenses. You set a funding goal, create a compelling project page, and reward backers.
  • Indiegogo: Indiegogo allows you to launch crowdfunding campaigns for various causes, including medical needs. You can choose between fixed or flexible funding options.
  • CrowdRise (by GoFundMe): This platform specializes in charitable fundraising and is an excellent choice for individuals looking to support medical expenses.

Does Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Qualify For Disability?

Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, or metastatic pancreatic cancer, is debilitating and life-threatening. In the United States, individuals diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program if they meet specific criteria. Here’s what you should consider:

Eligibility for SSDI with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer:

  • Medical Qualifications: To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability. This means you must have a condition that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death, preventing you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Stage 4 pancreatic cancer is a condition that typically meets these criteria.
  • Work Credits: You must have sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI. Work credits are earned based on your work history and the amount paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes. The exact number of work credits required varies depending on your age. However, typically, you need around 40 credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the ten years leading up to your disability.
  • Stage 4 pancreatic cancer is included in the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program, which expedites the disability application process for certain severe conditions. Your application may be processed more quickly if you have stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
  • Medical Documentation: You must provide comprehensive medical documentation of your condition, including clinical records, imaging results, treatment history, and medical opinions from your treating physicians.
  • Financial Qualifications: While SSDI is not income-based, if you have substantial financial resources or are currently engaging in substantial gainful activity, you may not qualify for disability benefits.

You can apply for SSDI online through the Social Security Administration’s website, by phone, or by scheduling an appointment at your local SSA office. It’s advisable to consult with a legal or disability advocate who can help you navigate the application process, gather necessary documentation, and ensure that your application is complete.

Remember that approval for SSDI benefits can take some time, and the outcome of your application will depend on your circumstances, work history, and the severity of your condition.

Further Reading

About the Author: Eugene Houchins

In 2005, Gene Houchins founded American Life Fund, addressing a significant gap in financial options for life insurance policyholders. As its leader, Gene specializes in providing swift financial support for those with severe illnesses. Through viatical settlements, his organization is able to assist patients with funding medical and living expenses through their existing life insurance policies.

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