Guest Post: Support for Cancer Patients Needed Now More Than Ever
Jackie Thompson|March 25th, 2021
The American Cancer Society—like many other not-for-profit organizations—has been severely affected by COVID-19. To continue providing life-saving programs and deploy new research funding, it needs support.
Today, the American Cancer Society is joining us to share how it helps patients overcome barriers to treatment and highlights the challenges it’s faced since 2020. We’re honored to be a partner.
“You have cancer.” Three little words that change everything. Nearly all of us have a friend, family member, or even ourselves, who’ve heard these words.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be devastating and knowing where to turn for support can be overwhelming and scary. Thankfully, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is available for cancer patients and their families 24/7, day or night, when people need help the most. In a typical year, ACS Cancer Information Specialists answer more than 1.4 million calls at 1-800-227-2345 as well as online chats. ACS provides a listening ear and helps patients find the latest information and resources. Families in need also find reliable cancer information at cancer.org.
For decades, ACS has been the largest not-for-profit funder of cancer research, playing a critical role in cutting-edge discoveries that save lives. ACS also helps patients overcome barriers to treatment like transportation and lodging. In 2019, approximately 490,000 free rides were provided to get patients to their potentially life-saving treatment and 500,000 nights of free lodging were provided in ACS Hope Lodge facilities near treatment centers across the nation.
Kealohanui “Nui” Browning was just 35 when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. “I remember thinking that it would be my last Thanksgiving,” said Browning. Living on the Big Island in Hawaii, she needed to get treatment on another island. Her doctor told her about Hope Lodge where she could stay at no cost. “Hope Lodge saved me from a lot of stress. It was so stressful trying to find lodging on my own.” Browning stayed at Hope Lodge for six weeks in 2019 during her second surgery, a bilateral mastectomy.
The ACS is in critical need of support to continue providing life-saving information, programs, and services and to fund cutting-edge cancer research. The pandemic severely affected donations in 2020, threatening ACS’s ability to maintain patient service levels and to deploy new research funding which could uncover the next cutting-edge treatment or cure.
As the pandemic has continued, many cancer patients face tremendous challenges accessing the care they need and other resources. From delayed treatment to losing their job and health insurance, the struggle for many cancer patients has never been greater.
A recent ACS study confirmed that the pandemic has disrupted the healthcare system and disproportionately impacted people at higher risk of hospitalization and death from the virus, including cancer patients. Many patients reported that their healthcare provider cancelled or postponed follow-up scans and lab work during the pandemic to reduce risk of virus exposure, due to lack of PPE, or because the care was deemed non-essential.
Cancer survivors also report losing their jobs due to cuts caused by the pandemic. Sarah, a 40-year-old Stage 4 sarcoma survivor, lost her job and couldn’t afford COBRA insurance. “When you have to choose between health care and heat or cancer care and food…well, it’s not a choice,” she said.
The pandemic has also caused many healthy Americans to delay getting regular cancer screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies. ACS encourages individuals to consult their healthcare professional about resuming these life-saving screenings. Delaying could result in existing cancers being discovered in later stages leading to fewer treatment options and poorer outcomes. A list of recommended screenings can be found on cancer.org as well as suggestions for how to talk to your care provider about your risks.
One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Selecting the ACS to receive your donations will help save lives now and in the future.
As you build your reward catalog with Tango Card, consider adding a not-for-profit organization like ACS. “Adding a charity to your reward catalog is an easy way for your program to contribute to an even greater good. It’s amazing to see how much help can come from something so simple,” explains Tyler Rencher, one of our brand managers at Tango Card.
Jackie is originally from Oregon but has been calling Washington home for the last five years. She is a Marketing Specialist at Tango Card where she spends her days sharing the positive impact gift cards can have on businesses. When she isn’t writing, Jackie can be found exploring Seattle, chasing around her two-year-old son, or hanging out with her husband and sweet dog, Coco.