Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dealing with a Diagnosis of Advanced Stage Breast Cancer

Learning that you have advanced stage breast cancer, whether during an initial diagnosis or if a recurrence has resulted in progression of disease, is difficult. To help process the information, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center provides a Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group that meets twice a month. What women consistently say is that they feel different than women who are newly diagnosed or have curable disease. Finding support from other women who can relate to their issues, while difficult, is important because knowing that cancer will be something you’ll deal with for the rest of your life impacts how you rationally and emotionally approach the disease.

With any chronic illness, which is how advanced stage cancer is seen, coping with the long-term effects can be difficult not only for patients, but also for family and friends. Being proactive in one’s care and treatment is essential but can also be exhausting. Finding a support group or identifying ways to incorporate good self-care measures are just a few ways to aid in managing one’s care over the long term.

Are you or someone you love dealing with advanced stage disease? What are some tools that have helped you coped? What resources are you still looking for?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Financial Help for Cancer Patients - it's really out there!

In addition to the emotional and physical challenges of a cancer diagnosis, I often hear concerns about the financial hardship that occurs while a patient receives treatment. If your treatment prevents you from working or results in reduced or no income, how will you pay for your co-pays and medications? And with the added cost for your health care, how will you pay your rent and utilities during this time? Some patients use their savings, some borrow from family and friends, and others apply to the local and national programs that provide assistance with medications, transportation, housing and utilities. At Buddy Kemp, I help direct you to resources that may be helpful such as these agencies:

Cancer Care www.cancercare.org or 1-800-813-4673;

Needymeds www.needymeds.org

PAF Co-pay Relief Program www.copays.org or 1-866-512-3861,

Crisis Assistance Ministries www.crisisassistance.org or 704-371-3001.

What agencies and programs have you found helpful in your journey?