Global Local letter to the editor

Raising awareness around financial impact of cancer


KK Haug and Ali Fine

In our Global Local class, we look into the problems happening around the world and discuss them. We then, in small groups, are able to choose a topic to look into more and create an action plan to help.  We chose cancer funding and the stress that the costs of cancer treatments have on patients and their families.

We started diving deeply into our research and discovered how problematic the costs of cancer truly is. As many know, cancer has directly affected faculty and students within the Blake community. We feel as though in terms of the financial aspect of cancer, there is a lack of awareness, and we want to change that. We feel as though an article in Spectrum would allow students and faculty to learn more and get a good grasp of the financial part of cancer.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, around 38% of people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lives. With such a high statistic, the issue is prevalent for everyone. Treatment for cancer is difficult and stressful for patients and their families. The last thing that should be on their minds is finances, however, according to Alliance for Patient Access, cancer patients are 2.65 times more likely to go bankrupt than those without going through cancer. The well-being of the patient should be the only thing on anyone’s mind when sick, exhausted and in the hospital, however, the costs of treatments have risen tremendously and become too expensive for most patients. The Wall Street Journal published analysis of data from a Livestrong survey conducted in 2012 that states, “64% of working-age cancer survivors have ever worried about paying large bills related to cancer, 40% had to make some kind of financial sacrifice, 34% had to borrow money or went into debt and 3.1% filed for bankruptcy.” These percentages are evidence that money is a very stressful component in a patient’s life.

After all of our research, we have concluded that the last thing patients should be worrying about is the cost of their treatment yet the economic stress is prevalent for almost every cancer patient. Cancer is hard enough without the stress of medical bills that could lead to bankruptcy. We hope that our letter will inspire our peers to donate to Leukemia Lymphoma Society, which is an organization founded in Minnesota. We will also be having a fundraiser at Chipotle on Saturday, December 15th from 4 to 8 pm at 786 Mainstreet in Hopkins. We hope that we can have a great turnout for a very important cause!