Cancer Financial Assistant Links

Since many people coming to this site are looking for immediate financial assistance, we are publishing direct links to this information to lead to Cancer Resource Mama, a site we have helped launch. The woman responsible for Cancer Resource Mama has worked tirelessly to do this research   These links open in a new tab:

Financial Assistance

State-Specific Financial Assistance

Diagnosis-specific Financial Assistance

Breast Cancer Financial Assistance

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Early-Stage Breast Condition May Not Require Cancer Treatment ~ NY Times

As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well.

Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes. Patients with this condition had close to the same likelihood of dying of breast cancer as women in the general population, and the few who died did so despite treatment, not for lack of it, researchers reported Thursday in JAMA Oncology.

Their conclusions were based on the most extensive collection of data ever analyzed on the condition, known as ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S.: 100,000 women followed for 20 years. The findings are likely to fan debate about whether tens of thousands of patients are undergoing unnecessary and sometimes disfiguring treatments for premalignant conditions that are unlikely to develop into life-threatening cancers.

Diagnoses of D.C.I.S., involving abnormal cells confined to the milk ducts of the breast, have soared in recent decades. They now account for as much as a quarter of cancer diagnoses made with mammography, as radiologists find smaller and smaller lesions. But the new data on outcomes raises provocative questions: Is D.C.I.S. cancer, a precursor to the disease or just a risk factor for some women? Is there any reason for most patients with the diagnosis to receive brutal therapies?… Read the rest

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No Shame – Bill Keller Bullies Cancer Patient Lisa Bonchek Adams

It all began last Wednesday when Emma Keller, spouse of former New York Times chief editor (and now weekly columnist) BIll Keller, penned a piece for The Guardian. It concerned a woman in New England named Lisa Adams, who is battling cancer and writing about the experience on Twitter, mainly for educational value, drawing a fair amount of notice. She is “dying out loud,’ as Emma (whose father died not long ago from cancer far more quietly) puts it.

Emma Keller compares it to a “Reality TV show.” She complains that Adams posted an update on her condition that morning and then had the nerve to post another one just hours later—and wonders if her too-many tweets are “a grim equivalent of deathbed selfies.” And she charges: “You can put a ‘no visitors sign’ on the door of your hospital room, but you welcome the world into your orbit and describe every last Fentanyl patch.”

This was the headline on the column: “Forget funeral selfies. What are the ethics of tweeting a terminal illness?”

Well, the feedback was so negative, including right at The Guardian in the comments section, that she added this update at the bottom:

Since this article was published two days ago, there’s been a lot of negative comment on Twitter and below the line. Lisa Adams herself was upset by it. I had been in communication with her a number of times in recent weeks; given her health, I could have given her advance warning about the article and should have told her that I planned to quote from our conversations.… Read the rest

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Insuring the terminal patient – Excerpt for Info

Found via BoingBoing:

Janet says, “Despite what the official statistics say, metastatic (stage IV) lung cancer is NOT an automatic death sentence. Newer therapies and personalized medicine now offer such patients months or even years of quality time to spend enjoying family, friends, hobbies, even travel and work. Yet insurance companies and doomsday doctors still tell many patients there’s no point in pursuing further treatment. I’m an engineer, a writer, and a stage IV lung cancer patient, and I received a letter from my insurance company [ed: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois] saying there was no need for me to have another biopsy because I was going to die anyway. This blog post is my response to that letter.”

I was lucky to have enough slides from a 2011 biopsy to have the University of Colorado test my tumor for the relatively new ROS1 genetic mutation in my tumor tissue. Because I tested positive for ROS1, I was able to enter a clinical trial for the targeted therapy crizotinib, a drug which inhibits my ROS1-driven cancer. The trial treatment eliminated both nodules and has given me No Evidence of Disease Status for five months. I am once again able to enjoy traveling, writing, and doing things with my family. If I had not had leftover biopsy slides, an EMN biopsy would have been my only opportunity to obtain enough tissue to test for ROS1. Without that ROS1 trial and crizotinib, I might be dead by now.

Doctors who don’t keep current on new treatment options and then decide a biopsy “is not going to affect long-term health outcomes” for metastatic lung cancer patients are insuring those patients will die sooner rather than later.

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Angelina Jolie | Double Mastectomy Due to Cancer Gene

Angelina Jolie

“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.

Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.

Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.”  NYTIMES 5/14/13

In an article entitled My Medical Choice, Ms Jolie explained that her mother fought cancer for nearly a decade and died at the age of 56.

Family history of breast cancer

She said she had sought to reassure her children that the same illness would not take her away from them, “but the truth is I carry a ‘faulty’ gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer”.

She said that once she “knew that this was my reality”, she had taken the decision to undergo the nine weeks of complex surgery required to have a double mastectomy, followed by reconstruction of the breasts with implants.

“There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful,” she wrote.… Read the rest

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The Fight To Take Back Our Genes

“On May 12, 2009, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are unconstitutional and invalid. On November 30, 2012, the Supreme Court agreed to hear argument on the patentability of human genes. The Court will hear these arguments on April 15, 2013.”

Link to ACLU Whether human genes can be patented.  Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics

The lawsuit, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., was filed on behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, women patients, cancer survivors, breast cancer and women’s health groups, and scientific associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals. The lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. The lawsuit charges that patents on human genes violate the First Amendment and patent law because genes are “products of nature” and therefore can’t be patented.… Read the rest

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Widespread Flaws Found in Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Women's Options for Quality Healthcare

Most women with ovarian cancer receive inadequate care and miss out on treatments that could add a year or more to their lives, a new study has found.

Ann Johansson for The New York Times

Dr. Robert E. Bristow is the lead author of a new study.

The results highlight what many experts say is a neglected problem: widespread, persistent flaws in the care of women with this disease, which kills 15,000 a year in the United States. About 22,000 new cases are diagnosed annually, most of them discovered at an advanced stage and needing aggressive treatment. Worldwide, there are about 200,000 new cases a year.

Cancer specialists around the country say the main reason for the poor care is that most women are treated by doctors and hospitals that see few cases of the disease and lack expertise in the complex surgery and chemotherapy that can prolong life.

“If we could just make sure that women get to the people who are trained to take care of them, the impact would be much greater than that of any new chemotherapy drug or biological agent,” said Dr. Robert E. Bristow, the director of gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine, and lead author of the new study presented on Monday at a meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in Los Angeles.

The study found that only a little more than a third of patients received the best possible care, confirming a troubling pattern that other studies have also documented.… Read the rest

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Victoria’s Secret: Make “Survivor Bras” to help breast cancer survivors feel beautiful

Allana Maiden + Mum Victorias Secret PetitionI was six years old when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. But my mom is one of the lucky ones, and she survived after undergoing a mastectomy — a procedure that removes one or both breasts — when she was just 36 years old.

Even though she’s been cancer free for over 21 years, my mom still struggles to find bras for women missing a breast that are not only comfortable and attractive, but affordable. I’ve been a Victoria’s Secret customer for years, and I know they’re outspoken supporters of women with breast cancer.

Now I’m asking them to act on their word by making a “Survivor Bra” for women who have lost one or both of their breasts due to cancer. I started a petition on Change.org asking Victoria’s Secret to be a leader for survivors of breast cancer by making a bra that is comfortable for women who have had mastectomies.Click here to sign my petition.

My mom is amazing. Even when she was going through exhausting chemotherapy — all while raising me — she never complained. Now, after years of being cancer free, my mom still has to drive to an expensive specialty store just to find bras and swimsuits that fit.

Cancer survivors, especially women who have had a mastectomy, often struggle with their image and self-confidence. With thousands of stores located across the country and online, Victoria’s Secret could provide breast cancer survivors everywhere with access to better bras.

Victoria’s Secret’s parent company has publicly said that “breast cancer is an issue close to many of us.” I believe that with your signature, they will do the right thing and become a leader in helping women with breast cancer feel beautiful again after a mastectomy.… Read the rest

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Affordable Care Act Health Law Largely Stands

The Supreme Court has spoken, and I want to tell you what it means to me as a cancer survivor.

I’m not afraid to admit that I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act, what some people refer to as Obamacare, when it passed.

But there was something that concerned me more, and that was having no insurance at all. Because in the minds of the health insurance companies, I’m not a cancer survivor — I’m someone who had the audacity to survive cancer. And the consequence of survival was that they refused to insure me. I own a small business and work hard, so I need to buy my own health care.

However, I did qualify for a new program included in the health care law — the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP). It was designed for people like me and maybe for someone like you or someone you care about who are cancer survivors and aren’t able to get insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition like cancer.

When I went to the hospital in March with a life-threatening bacterial infection, I was admitted to the intensive care unit, where I spent five days recovering. Without PCIP, I would not have been placed in intensive care and, quite simply, I would have died.

And that brings me to today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

I almost cried when I heard the Supreme Court had upheld the law. These were not tears of sadness, but tears of relief. I won’t be losing my insurance coverage.… Read the rest

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Hi Everyone!

Pink Float Kid Yellow Glasses Cancer Fairy GodMother

I have just changed the header for the site to reflect a new attitude of joy and hope.  I have been in the weeds with an eye opening new project that has consumed my time over the last few months, partnering with a brilliant social media marketing guy Brent Campbell of A Hundred Miles and Hour .

He and I have been working on a project that at the start I found unsettling, but as I did deep research and intel on the subject matter, became very eye opening and has changed my attitude towards the legal profession and lawyers in general.  Brent and I (under the ‘A Hundred Miles and Hour’ brand) has been busy creating some really cool informational, educational websites about finding ways to help people with cancer and other life threatening conditions.  I will start to post some screen shots and links in a few days, but for now i am jumping into the Cancer Fairy Godmother Site to change the banner to something fresh and lite for spring.

It has been a long winter up here in what I call Ice Planet Hoth, which is what the Ski Country of Southern Vermont has been like this winter.

Namsaste

~ K

Image ©ShutterStockRead the rest

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Susan G. Komen Foundation Betrays Women for Right Wing GOP

The insanity of the GOP Republican Party + Evangelical Right Agenda against Women continues.

Shame on you Susan G. Komen Foundation ~ Planned Parenthood is a critical safety net for women across America and with so many of the middle class falling between the cracks into poverty, the role of Planned Parenthood in more important than ever.

…but apparently those women no longer matter as Komen’s support has now been withdrawn. Last month, the national office of the Komen Foundation, which maintains tight control over its state affiliates, sent a memo barring those affiliates from using money they had raised at the local level to partner with Planned Parenthood clinics in improving access to breast exams.

Why? Not science, not evidence, not concern for women.

Politics and personal ambition, pure and simple.

It’s no secret that anti-choice legislators at the state and national level have made Planned Parenthood the central focus of their anti-woman agenda, spending well over half of entire legislative sessions in some states focused on cutting funding and limiting access to reproductive health services.  At the national level, the ongoing witch hunt aimed at PPFA has taken many forms, one of which includes a “Congressional inquiry” launched by House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.).  Stearns sent a letter to PPFA in late September 2011 asking for an avalanche of documents to “investigate” whether PPFA has used federal funds to provide abortion services.

The Cancerous Politics and Ideology of the Susan G. Komen Foundation ~ Jodi Jacobson

75% critical of Susan Komen for the Cure, Only 25% support decision to sever ties with Planned Parenthood.

75% critical of Susan Komen for the Cure, Only 25% support decision to sever ties with Planned Parenthood.

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Unbiased, Useful information from The National Cancer Institute Help Line

1-800-422-6237 The National Cancer Institute Help Line

The cancer line fields a wide variety of queries, including what to expect after different diagnoses; what to ask doctors; where to get help with financial, legal, and transportation problems that might interfere with treatment; the benefits and side effects of different treatment options; and what clinical trials are available for different diagnoses.

Callers are encouraged to share as many details as possible about the exact type and stage of their cancer, so that the staff can tailor the information they provide. “But if they don’t know this, we can help them formulate questions they can take to their doctor,” says Mary Anne Bright, a former oncology nurse who directs the program. “We will spend as much time with somebody as they need.”

Unlike many other toll-free help lines, “we’re not a pharmaceutical company, and we’re not collecting donations,” Bright adds. “We’re all about reporting the most accurate and up-to-date information about cancer and the results of research in a way that people can understand.”

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with cancer, consider calling the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-422-6237. You’ll find The operators can tell you about their personal cancer stories, answer your questions, help you find financial help for medical bills, put you in touch with medical specialists and local support groups, direct you toward clinical trials, and more. It’s a valuable, but underutilized service that everyone should be aware of. (Side note: Yes, this is actually useful medical information that appeared on the Huffington Post.

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Avastin Approval Revoked F.D.A. as Breast Cancer Drug

“After reviewing the available studies,” she continued, “it is clear that women who take Avastin for metastatic breast cancer risk potentially life-threatening side effects without proof that the use of Avastin will provide a benefit, in terms of delay in tumor growth, that would justify those risks. Nor is there evidence that use of Avastin will help them live longer or improve their quality of life.”

Medicare, which covers many women with breast cancer, has already said it would continue to cover the cost no matter what the F.D.A. decided. Medicare is obligated to pay for off-label use of cancer drugs that are listed in references known as compendia, such as the one published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an organization of major cancer hospitals.

An initial clinical trial showed that Avastin, when combined with the drug paclitaxel, which is also known by the brand name Taxol, delayed the progression of disease by about five and a half months, compared to use of paclitaxel alone. However, the women who received Avastin in the study did not live significantly longer and they suffered more side effects.

Based on that data, the F.D.A.’s cancer drug advisory committee voted 5 to 4 against approval in December 2007. But two months later, the agency granted provisional approval.

In subsequent studies, in which Avastin was combined with different chemotherapy drugs, tumor growth was delayed by only one to three months. And Avastin did not prolong lives at all, nor did it improve quality of life.… Read the rest

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Breasts… They Need Your Support! ~ JPG Magazine Contest 10-11-11

With National Breast Cancer Month (October) upon us (http://www.nbcam.org/), we want to throw our support behind some great organizations that are helping those patients, survivors, families and others that have been affected by this disease.

This Shoot Out photo contest is intended, mirroring the goal of NBCAM, to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

Enter your images that promote breast cancer awareness and/or celebrate the beauty, strength, spirit and nurture threatened by the disease. Enter your images that tell a story of inspiration, of strength, of survival. Enter your images that are touching, humorous, sensual, perceptive… real.

We want to really make a splash. We’ve got lofty goals for this contest and would love to see the total raised getOVER $100,000. To do this, WE NEED YOUR HELP! We need everyone to get the word out… share this onFacebookTwitter, via email. Tell your friends, your neighbors, your clients, your kids’ friends… everyone.

The ‘starting pot’ will be $100 in total, but we want to see a truly inspiring number here. So help us get these numbers growing! Help us demonstrate the power of images to help raise awareness and money to make a difference!

We’ll be updating the prizing as the entries come in, so check back… and enter as often as you can! You’re supporting a great cause!

JPG Magazine Contest 10-11-11Read the rest

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U.S. Panel Says No to Prostate Screening for Healthy Men

NY Times By Gardiner Harris
9/7/11

Healthy men should no longer receive a P.S.A. blood test to screen for prostate cancer because the test does not save lives over all and often leads to more tests and treatments that needlessly cause pain, impotence and incontinence in many, a key government health panel has decided.

The draft recommendation, by the United States Preventive Services Task Force and due for official release next week, is based on the results of five well-controlled clinical trials and could substantially change the care given to men 50 and older. There are 44 million such men in the United States, and 33 million of them have already had a P.S.A. test — sometimes without their knowledge — during routine physicals.

The task force’s recommendations are followed by most medical groups. Two years ago the task force recommended that women in their 40s should no longer get routine mammograms, setting off a firestorm of controversy. The recommendation to avoid the P.S.A. test is even more forceful and applies to healthy men of all ages.

“Unfortunately, the evidence now shows that this test does not save men’s lives,” said Dr. Virginia Moyer, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and chairwoman of the task force. “This test cannot tell the difference between cancers that will and will not affect a man during his natural lifetime. We need to find one that does.”

U.S. Panel Says No to Prostate Screening for Healthy Men

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