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Easing cancer’s burdens

First Aired: June 8, 2014

Cancer is about more than the disease. Many people also face significant financial burdens – not only the hefty costs of treatment, but also to take care of day-to-day expenses like rent, the power bill, groceries and gas needed to get to and from doctor’s appointments. And, some must take a leave of absence from their jobs or quit. That loss of income can be devastating. There’s a name for this concern, according to Duke oncologist Dr. Yousuf Zafar and colleagues – it’s called financial toxicity. They surveyed more than 250 people and found that they often have to do financial juggling just to make ends meet. In fact, nearly half described their financial burden as “significant” or “catastrophic.” Patients have reduced what they spend on basic needs like food and clothing, and more than half have to dip into their savings accounts just to pay their bills. The stress and anxiety impairs the ability to focus on recovery. Thankfully, there are many resources to help with financial challenges, and feature many of them on the show.

– PBS’s Take One Step Health Campaign has a valuable section on finding financial assistance

– Cancer Support Community: Coping with the Cost of Care

– CancerCare also published a book that’s also available online: A Helping Hand: The Financial Edition

Assistance in North Carolina

– Magnolia Meals at Home™ – Cornucopia partners with Meals on Wheels of Wake County and Eisai Women’s Oncology Program to provide nutritious meals to patients with breast cancer and their families who live in the Triangle area.

– Cornucopia also provides gas cards to assist those needing help getting to doctor’s appointments and to pick up groceries.

Cancer Services Inc. in Winston-Salem, NC provides some prescription assistance and limited emergency financial assistance to people in Davie, Forsyth, Stokes and Yadkin counties who meet eligibility requirements

Helene Foundation provides assistance to North Carolina families in need with mothers in active cancer treatment, including meal delivery, housecleaning, child care and tutoring.

Stomp the Monster NC helps fill the financial gaps for North Carolinians in treatment for any kind of cancer.

– Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina’s Access to Care gas card program

Non-geographic specific resources

– CancerCare Financial Assistance Program

– CancerCare Co-payment Assistance Foundation

Cleaning for a Reason partners with maid services throughout the U.S. and Canada to offer professional house cleanings to help women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer.

Chronic Disease Fund Inc. provides financial assistance to under-insured patients with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, melanoma, multiple myeloma, non-small lunch cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Patient Access Network Foundation provides co-pay assistance for several types of cancer – anaplastic large cell lymphoma, advanced basal cell carcinoma, breast cancer, bone metastases, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, colorectal cancer, cutaneous T-Cell lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, small-cell lung cancer, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and well-differentiated thyroid cancer, as well as chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.

Breast Cancer Resources

Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation helps women under 30 with breast cancer with medical-related expenses

The Breast Cancer Charities of America offers a “Help Now Fund” for women with breast cancer and their families. The fund helps with emergency financial services such as past-due utility bills, rent eviction notices and transportation to treatment.

Also visit Cornucopia’s Online Resources link for other valuable information

Colon Cancer Resources

Colon Cancer Alliance provides grants up to $300 for people living with colon cancer

Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation provides $250 grants to qualified colorectal cancer patients to help with basic living expenses like child care, transportation, cleaning services and wigs. And, hear more from this organization on our February 9 program, Coping with Colorectal Cancer

Meredith’s Miracles Colon Cancer Foundation provides financial support for young adults under the age of 40 who are in treatment for colon cancer.

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