by: David Haas
Few things in life are as tragic as a cancer diagnosis or the treatments. Those who are diagnosed have many questions to consider: what kind of treatment is best, how will this affect my career and family, how can I cope with this? The family and friends of cancer patients must also learn to deal with this news and how to help the patient. One of the worst things about cancer is how many people it impacts. The flip side of this is that because so many people are impacted, they can offer support and comfort to each other.
Cancer networks are designed to help people impacted from cancer by bringing them together in a supportive environment where they can share stories of hope, grief, loss, and advice on how to cope with the everyday realities of living with cancer. These networks are also available to those in remission and the friends and family of patients. These networks provide comfort to the members and allow them to talk about things only those impacted can understand, as well the difficulties of being a caregiver or watching a loved one suffer.
A rare or terminal cancer diagnosis is even harder for most people to come to terms with. A Mesothelioma diagnosis can be very isolating and one should take advantage of one of the many support groups to help deal with emotional side effects as well as share personal stories and advice on how to cope with their mesothelioma prognosis. The simple act of talking about cancer can be very cathartic and help the patient’s process what is happening to them and express emotions and thoughts that can be difficult to talk to others about.
A cancer diagnosis can be very isolating and cause people to withdraw from their friends and social lives. Cancer networks routinely put on social events to draw together those who are affected, and provide a safe place to interact with others without the need to be self-conscious about the side effects of cancer treatment. Many networks also provide classes and events on everything from nutrition, pain management, and yoga to art classes. This allows cancer patients to be among people who understand their situation while still being productive and having fun, as well as providing valuable knowledge to anyone seeking to better understand their situation and options.
Written By:Pulse and posted in: Cancer Patient Tools and Resources26 Jun 2011
Cancer patients and families have enough challenges and hurdles to overcome and unfortunately, financial burden is one of them. Normally, healthcare insurance policies only cover a fraction of the cost associated with expensive cancer care. As a result, patients and families members need to identify resources for financial assistance. In this article, we will review a few options that some families may want to consider when they evaluate their personal financial situations.
Please note that this article is meant to be for informational purposes and is not meant to communicate financial advice and families should still consult a lawyer or professional financial planner.
While there are several foundations and non-profit financial assistance programs available to cancer patients, a few of the more well-known cancer foundations include:
Patient Access Network Foundation (PAN):
This non-profit 501c3 foundation is unaffiliated with its financial sponsors and is focused on assisting patients who are in-need with their out-of-pocket costs associated with their cancer treatment. They are a national organization and have been recognized as one of the largest financial assistance organizations available to cancer patients. In addition to providing financial assistance, PAN also helps educate patients and families on how to best manage their financial debt while battling cancer.
This foundation provides patients with assistance in affording prescription medications, specifically addressing out-of-pocket costs incurred via prescription drug co-insurances, co-pays, deductibles and even healthcare insurance premiums. The foundation currently provides assistance for select tumor types based on their secured funds. Therefore, for cancer type coverage, please visit their disease page (http://healthwellfoundation.org/diseases.html)
This national non-profit has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to create the Linking ARMS program, providing limited financial assistance for hormonal and oral chemo, pain and anti-nausea medication, lymphedema supplies and other medical treatment care for women with breast cancer. They have also partnered with the Avon Foundation to provide financial assistance to low-income, underinsured or uninsured women throughout the country who need supportive services relating to the treatment of breast and cervical cancer.
Income from Life Insurance Policies
Other sources of financial income for cancer patients may include viaticals and accelerated life benefits from their life insurance policies. These options are particularly sensitive on a case-by-case basis and should be carefully considered whether they are right for them.
Viaticals are the sale of the patient’s life insurance policy for immediate cash with another insurance company who agrees to buy policies from people with terminal illnesses. This insurance company becomes the new owner of the policy and the sole beneficiary of the policy. It pays the premiums so long as the patient is alive, and when the patient dies, the death benefit goes directly to the viatical company. Patient families and heirs will not receive any of the death payout, however, viaticals offer immediate assistance to help pay for food, shelter, doctor visits and other pressing needs. This extreme option helps ease the stress of financial concerns.
Accelerated Life Benefits
Accelerated Life Benefits act similarly like personal loans on the patient’s life insurance policies. Insurance companies make it possible for policy owners to collect part of their death benefits early to help cover extraordinary expenses. These benefits are not intended to replace normal health insurance or long-term care insurance, but they can provide extra help with needs that result from terminal or catastrophic illnesses. For greater detail, please consult the American Council of Life Insurers.
We will be reviewing additional financial options in the future since financial assistance is a real and pressing issue affecting several cancer patients. However, it’s important to know that there are available resources to help patients and families address the cost of cancer care.
For cancer patients and families where they’ve conquered such a terrible condition, the next step in the journey is developing a personalized follow-up care plan to manage the possibility of cancer recurrence. In this post, we outline 10 key questions that many patients have asked during the follow-up care phase.
Though every patient is different, two common objectives in the struggle of “life after cancer” include: (1) managing the possibility of recurrence and (2) returning to normalcy. In reviewing real questions recommended by cancer survivors across multiple support groups, we found the following 10 questions to be repeatedly considered when engaging their oncologists and nurses:
In addition to these questions, most patients and support groups have recommended that being organized when it comes to their medical and treatment history, surgeries, tests, financial bills, and experienced side effects have been extremely helpful when developing their follow-up care plan.
Crafting a personalized follow-up care plan with your oncologist, nurse and primary caregivers is extremely important when managing the potential of cancer recurrence. When discussing these questions, we recommend taking notes, having a caregiver help take notes or tape-recording the discussion. It will be a good idea to review these notes at a later time.
Other follow-up services which may be helpful to survivors may include: support groups, couples counseling, genetic counseling, fertility/sexual counseling, home care services, nutrition counseling, physical therapy, pain management and occupational therapy. When considering these services, it’s important to also find out the specific eligibility requirements for these services.
The life-after-cancer journey is not a easy one, but fortunately, there are several available resources and services to support you in leading a new life.