What We’re Reading: Statistics and Stories About Today’s Cancer Experiences
Family Reach is a team of compassionate innovators. And while compassion drives our ideas, data informs our approach and holds us accountable. Every initiative we launch is backed by evidence, then measured and evaluated for impact.
From recent statistics and studies to the stories of those with lived cancer experiences, here’s some of the content that inspired us recently.
1. Association of Medical Financial Hardship and Mortality Among Cancer Survivors in the United States
This study links financial hardship to higher mortality risk among cancer survivors. According to the data, cancer survivors who reported financial hardship were more likely to be younger, female, single, or racial and ethnic minorities. They also tend to have other health conditions and lower education levels.
People with cancer who face a financial burden are more likely to die from their disease. We’re not okay with that. This is why financial treatment is necessary to offset the long-term side effects of cancer, especially for those with additional socioeconomic barriers.
2. Patient Engagement and Advocacy Considerations in Development and Implementation of a Multicancer Early Detection Program
This commentary highlights how distance, transportation, and affordable child care prevent many individuals from accessing cancer screenings and early detection blood tests. If these barriers sound familiar, it’s because they are nearly identical to those standing between thousands of patients and their cancer treatment.
The authors of this article hold advocacy organizations accountable for addressing these issues with patient-centered approaches, and we couldn’t agree more. When we examine the health literacy, reading levels, cultures, and languages of diverse patient populations, we create more relevant and empowering resources.
Read the full commentary.
We can’t ignore the data — racial disparities exist in cancer care.
To narrow that gap, patient navigators in Delaware are stepping into the heart of communities with low screening rates and informing locals of the resources available. This community-based approach has lowered the state’s cancer mortality rates.
Family Reach follows a similar model, hiring Resource Navigators who connect families nationwide to financial resources that are most helpful for their situation. We’re also piloting a community-based model with a Field Resource Navigator in Philadelphia who works on-site at hospitals to build trust and connections with the local Black community.
Through these initiatives, we’re improving and scaling our patient support programs for widespread impact.
Listen to the story.
The Survivor Views program calls on over 3,000 cancer survivors to share their experiences and perspectives on critical cancer-related issues. In one of the most recent surveys, 51% said they incurred cancer-related medical debt, 54% reported being unprepared to pay for the costs of their care, and more than 70% made significant lifestyle changes to afford care.
These findings align with our own. The majority (64%) of the families we support lose half or more of their income after treatment begins and struggle to pay for everyday costs like housing, food, and transportation on top of medical expenses.
The more data we gather, the better equipped we are to fine-tune our Financial Treatment Program and help families preserve their financial health.
Perspectives from patients and caregivers help us better understand the realities of living with cancer. In this piece, Sheena, who has neuroendocrine cancer, talks about her cancer rider — a list of personal guidelines that make managing her diagnosis a little easier. Sheena encourages others in her shoes to do the same and define their own set of rules.
“Right now, it’s crucial for me to only do what’s going to be best for me and my health, physically, and emotionally,” she shares.
Always walking the fine line between her right and left brain, Stevie brings her creative and strategic thinking to her role as Senior Creative and Brand Manager. Her work amplifies Family Reach’s voice and brings attention to the financial impacts of a cancer diagnosis.
Read a poem by Renée, who uses poetry to share her cancer experience and advocate for others in the young adult cancer community.
Katie shares how financial coaching is a trustworthy and empathetic service that helped her with the financial impacts of her husband’s cancer diagnosis.
Family Reach CEO Carla Tardif shares her perspective on Family Reach’s involvement in the relaunch of the Cancer Moonshot.