From the Desk Of… Melanie Wilson & Susan Shields

2019 – JULY:
From the Desk of…
Melanie Wilson
, President & CEO
and Susan Shields
, Board Chair, MBA, RN, NE-BC, CCAP-I.

According to many who work in oncology, immunotherapy “is the future” of cancer care. The American Society of Clinical Oncology defines immunotherapy (also called biologic therapy) as a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer.

But sadly, the miracle is often unattainable because it can be unaffordable, unless the patient is fortunate enough to have an insurer willing to approve costly coverage. For instance, the well-known drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is priced at $4,800 per dose (100mg/4mL vial). The drug is typically administered every 3 weeks, for a period as long as two years, depending upon the patient’s response and other conditions. The cost for treatment quickly adds up to tens of thousands of dollars!

While we sadly cannot offer a solution that would make these new cancer therapies affordable for all, we feel strongly that we cannot lose sight of those who are impacted by the disease today, here and now, in our community. While there are hundreds upon hundreds of research entities across the nation planning new strategies in the war against cancer, the battle on the front line rages on. You likely know someone saying, “I’ve got it – now, today. What do I do?”

Cancer Care Services can provide a safety net (for those who qualify for financial assistance), a cushion to soften the blow when people find themselves up against this devastating disease. Even with health insurance, it’s all too common to hear stories of entire life savings being spent on the cost of treatment. (The number one cause of personal bankruptcy is medical debt.) And you may be surprised to know that Cancer Care Services provides navigation services for everyone, including people just like you and me in the middle class.

The truth of the matter is that a cancer diagnosis can throw anyone into sudden, unexpected, and debilitating financial jeopardy. The financial stress of cancer is proven to increase the risk of death in cancer patients by more than 70%. That “financial toxicity” leads to patients worrying that, even if they survive, they’ll have nothing. Or worse yet, the longer they survive, the less their family will have. These are deep, dark fears that, honestly, you can help Cancer Care Services alleviate. Our team of social workers provide expert guidance that is difficult to find in an out-of-hospital setting.

So while researchers are doing amazing things in the lab, we are proud to be doing some amazing things right here in Fort Worth. We invite you to come take a tour of our offices and meet some of the social workers and clients who can tell you their real life stories. Because, reducing the devastating impact of cancer on an individual’s life can have a healing effect as profound as any miracle drug.