Headlines & Helpful Information, Community, Dollars Making A Difference
By: Amanda Oberstein
Are you prepared for an unexpected expense? According to CBS News, 57% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover an unexpected $500 emergency. That unexpected expense might be replacing tires earlier than anticipated or repairing a window after a bad storm – or it might be health related. An out-of-network doctor visit, perhaps. What if it’s breast cancer treatment?
Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime? Thankfully, breast cancer researchers have made unbelievable strides in the lab and discovered new treatment options that have helped decrease the overall death rate of breast cancer. However, too often women and men are unable to access or complete needed treatments due to a variety of factors that serve as barriers to care.
It sounds simple, but people who complete their full course of breast cancer treatment have a higher chance of survival. Yet the costs related to that care can be astronomical, which forces many patients to stop treatment early or choose cheaper, less effective treatment options.
No patient should have to choose between their breast cancer treatment and putting food on the table. However, the reality is that many people affected by breast cancer cannot afford everyday expenses like bus fare or a tank of gas to get to their doctors’ appointments or treatments. Others cannot afford the co-pays for their lifesaving prescription medications.
A 2016 survey by CancerCare of over 3,000 people with cancer shed light on the extremes some people go to in order to make ends meet while undergoing treatment: 38% of respondents postponed or did not fill their prescriptions, 31% cut their pills in half, 21% missed a payment on a utility bill, and 17% missed a rent or mortgage payment. This is unacceptable.
Since 2003, Susan G. Komen has partnered with CancerCare to provide financial assistance to people undergoing breast cancer treatment. The Susan G. Komen Treatment Assistance Program provides an assessment by an oncology social worker, psychosocial support, education and financial assistance to low-income, uninsured or underinsured people undergoing breast cancer treatment across the country. The program aims to ease the financial burden of breast cancer, allowing patients to focus on what truly matters: their treatment and survival.
Funding from this program helps patients pay for oral pain and anti-nausea medication, oral chemotherapy, hormone therapy, child/elder care, transportation to and from treatment, lymphedema care and supplies and durable medical equipment. By helping to reduce a patient’s financial stress, more people can make it to their doctors’ appointments and take their medications as prescribed, ultimately leading to better outcomes and lives saved.
Over the years Komen has helped nearly 30,000 women and men through this program. Yet the need usually exceeds the funds that are available. It is only through the generosity of our supporters that we can ensure the next person is able to get the financial support they need to help them get the life-saving care they need.
here to learn more about how you can help support this life-saving program.
Return to Blog Home