36 THE QUEENS COURIER • WELLNESS • OCTOBER 17, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Cancer care costs on the rise: How to get help
Cancer patients face skyrocketing costs
for their treatment, which adds to the
stress of a cancer diagnosis and living
with a disease. As an unapologetically
patients-fi rst organization, Th e Leukemia
& Lymphoma Society (LLS) is fi nding
ways to lessen the burden. “When cancer
patients are fi ghting for their life, the
last thing they need is fi nancial distress,”
says Gwen Nichols, M.D., LLS chief medical
offi cer. “Th e Leukemia & Lymphoma
Society puts patients at the forefront,
advocating for fi nancial relief and off ering
Take advantage of available resources.
Nichols suggests a number of resources
to assist with expenses related to treatment,
• Negotiate with healthcare providers to
reduce medical fees or adjust the payment
schedule in cases of fi nancial hardship.
• Apply for grants and fi nancial aid from
employers, labor unions, community
service agencies, religious and fraternal
groups or organizations such as LLS.
• Form a committee of volunteers to conduct
fundraising events, sales, raffl es,
canister collections or letter-writing and
• Cash in benefi ts from life insurance
policies through life insurance loans
or accelerated benefi ts, which can provide
cash payouts to seriously ill policyholders.
As the cost of care rises, patients need
up-to-date information and support
to help navigate their complex fi nancial
challenges. Th e LLS Information
Specialists are social workers and nurses
who work one-on-one with blood cancer
patients, connecting them to a variety
of free services and resources, including:
• Financial support - Assistance with the
cost of treatment, transportation and
• Co-pay assistance - Help for eligible
patients to pay for prescription drug
co-pays and health insurance premiums.
• Clinical trial navigation - LLS educates
patients about the availability of appropriate
clinical trials for patients.
Be an advocate for change.
Your voice is valuable. Advocating for
yourself or a loved one with cancer can
help shape discussions about the cost of
care. Th e LLS Offi ce of Public Policy is
charged with pursuing LLS’ goal to fi nd
cures and ensure access to treatments for
blood cancer patients through advocacy
aimed at governmental decision makers.
You might be interested in advocating
for policies that can provide additional
benefi ts and protections for people who
have cancer, or you might want to support
policies that promote faster progress
Cancer survivor and LLS advocate
Paul O’Hara has been advocating on
behalf of cancer patients since he was
personally aff ected by the debilitating
cost of care when he was diagnosed with
chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2009.
“Legislators didn’t understand what it was
like to make a decision between medicine
you need to survive and your mortgage
or electric bill,” says O’Hara. “Seeing
lawmakers ‘get it’ when I shared my story
with them made me realize I wasn’t just
speaking for my family, but for all survivors.”
To fi nd out more about advocating for
policy changes at the state and federal
level, contact LLS Advocacy at advocacy@
LLS.org or visit www.LLS.org/advocacy.