Prostate cancer’s impact on families is crippling and grave enough even before taking into account the financial toll the disease makes on patients and their loved ones.. Thank you former Georgia Governor candidate Stacey Abrams, for bringing this crisis to the national stage during the Democratic response to the State of the Union Address last night:
“My father has battled prostate cancer for years. To help cover the costs, I found myself sinking deeper into debt — because while you can defer some payments, you can’t defer cancer treatment.”
Prostate cancer doesn’t care if you’re a democrat or republican, what race you are, or your sexual preference. It kills a man and destroys a family every 19 minutes and more than a million families struggle to a large degree with financial toxicity – a technical term to describe how patients can’t afford treatments, can’t work because of their cancer, or find the cost burden so overwhelming that they quit treatment.
Just the surgery for prostate cancer can cost up to $135,000, according to a University of Iowa study. Costs for follow up radiation treatment and medicines to treat aggressive disease are astronomical. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, nearly one-third of all cancer patients skip treatments or quit their fight entirely because of the cost.
There is hope for men like Stacey Abrams’ dad. There are hundreds of local and regional programs able to help make a difference in the lives of families fighting prostate cancer. ZERO360 (managed by ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer), a free and confidential patient navigation program, does the work for each patient by fighting for insurance appeals, enrolling qualified patients into social security disability, seeking out and enrolling qualified patients into free drug programs and clinical trials as well as locating transportation to doctor appointments. Since November 2016, ZERO360 has secured charitable care for and returned to patients more than $1M.
We must work together collaboratively to find long-term solutions for spiraling health care costs for all Americans by embracing the parts of the system that work and improving the pieces that do not. While we undertake this important work, we must not allow men and families in the fight today to suffer without the help and care they need. Will you join other generous supporters around the country who are helping prostate cancer patients and their families? You can make a difference with a gift here.
If you’re fighting prostate cancer, care about someone who is, or just want to advance this crucial dialogue, here are three ways ZERO provides direct help to patients:
- ZERO360 – Free Patient Navigation: https://zerocancer.org/zero360get-support/zero360
- Get a MENtor. Connect with another patient or survivor who knows what you’re going through and can be a sounding board for your unique cancer journey. https://zerocancer.org/get-support/mentor/
- Join an online support community to share your experience, strength, and hope: https://www.facebook.com/groups/zeroconnect/