What our Cancer Fund Supports:
1. Nash Cancer Treatment Center Patient Financial Assistance Fund
(Patient and Family Financial Hardships)
Patients diagnosed with cancer can often face tremendous financial as well as physical and emotional challenges. Cancer treatment begins at diagnosis and can last a lifetime, forcing patients and families to incur a host of financial hardships. They are often forced to take unpaid leave from work, lack transportation to and from treatment, and/or are unable to afford the cost of medicines for pain or nausea. For these patients, financial stress can become too great, and drive them to end their treatment prematurely.
Patients need to focus on hope, health, and healing. They should never have to choose between receiving treatment and providing food and shelter for their families. To help ease financial hardship, the Nash Cancer Treatment Center Patients Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for applicable patients in need.
Financial assistance commonly awarded through the Nash Cancer Treatment Center Patient Assistance Fund includes:
· Assistance with copays for treatment
· Gift cards for gas and food
· Nutritional supplements
· Assistance with household expenses, such as rent, mortgage, and utilities
· Lymphedema therapy
Any patient receiving cancer care at Nash Health Care is eligible to apply for financial assistance through the Nash Cancer Treatment Center Patient Assistance Fund, though successful applicants must meet specific criteria. Requests are monitored by Nash Cancer Treatment social workers, who work closely with patient navigators to assist burdened patients with pursuing financial relief.
2. Patient Education and Supportive Services:
The Nash Cancer Treatment Center’s navigator is available to meet and provide education to all newly diagnosed cancer patients receiving care at Nash Health Care. A registered nurse with a background in oncology, the navigator provides patients with a strong level of clinical knowledge and education but currently lack educational materials for patients to take home and share with family and friends. The fund will provide much-needed support for the development, implementation, and purchase of patient educational resources. These guidebooks, brochures, etc. will provide crucial
information about topics including screening, surgical options, medical oncology, radiation oncology, genetic testing, survivorship, rehabilitation, and nutrition.
A. Lung Cancer Screening
Nash County and its surrounding communities suffer from a higher-than-average rate of patients who are diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. Roughly 71% of lung cancer cases in the area aren’t diagnosed until they have developed into stage 3 or 4. That in turn negatively affects mortality rates: patients diagnosed at a late stage are significantly less likely to survive the disease.
With approximately 90 new lung cancer cases diagnosed each year in Nash County, the Lung Cancer Screening Program provides a much-needed method of early detection for patients and community members. With the technology in hand, Nash Health Care can screen patients at the greatest risk of lung cancer before any symptoms are present, reducing deaths by finding, diagnosing, and offering treatment options for cancer more quickly than ever before.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid issued a decision memo in March of 2015 in which a Lung Cancer Screening was approved with the following guidelines:
· Age 55 to 77 years old
· Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
· Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years
· Be a current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last 15 years
· Receive a written order from your physician
Our readily-established referral stream involves referrals from Primary Care Providers (Rocky Mount Family Medical, OIC Family Medical Center, Tar River Mission, Boice Willis Clinic Primary Care/Internal Medicine, Eastern NC Medical Group. Partners include Radiologists (Drs. Goodnight and Duncan championing this, Dr. Desai (Boice Willis Clinic Pulmonology), UNC Pulmonary Surgery, Medical and Radiation Oncology.
B. Other Cancer Screening Opportunities
Past screening initiatives have also included prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer. Breast cancer screening through the Breast Risk Assessment and Prevention Program is currently funded through the Breast Care Foundation Fund.
4. Support Programs
A. Cancer Survivorship
The Nash Cancer Treatment Center provides patients access to cancer survivorship programs, educational opportunity and support, so critical to their well-being. . Social workers and nurse navigators provide education and resource opportunities to patients after their cancer treatment is complete, helping survivors along every stage of their journey
Because services are not often covered by insurance, a scholarship program has been created Most recently, The Nash Cancer Treatment Center has received a grant from the Duke Endowment to support Cancer Transitions: Moving Beyond Treatment, a new program designed to help cancer survivors and their caregivers transition from active treatment to post-treatment care. The program is coordinated by the Nash Cancer Treatment Center’s social workers, and hosted in partnership with the UNC Cancer Center. The Duke Endowment has generously agreed to fund the program through 2017, but after that period, funding for this program will need to be sustained locally.
B. Supportive Therapy & Services
Nash Health Care staff will help patients identify resources and develop skills that benefit them physically and emotionally while they heal from their cancer care. Examples include physical activity programs, massage therapy, reflexology, yoga, lymphedema therapy, nutrition education/management, etc.
· Therapeutic Massage – A healing practice that helps cancer patients and survivors reduce stress and anxiety, lessens pain, reduces scar tissue, helps fatigue, and boosts their immune system.
· Reflexology- A healing practice that involves the science of stimulating reflex points on the feet or hands that in turn affect the entire body. The service has proven beneficial to cancer patients experiencing peripheral neuropathy, stress, pain, and insomnia.
· Yoga - A gentle physical activity that helps cancer survivors decrease stress, strengthen the immune system, improve balance, and enhance overall wellness. Classes cater to a variety of survivor needs and skill levels.
· Lymphedema services – For patients experiencing lymphatic swelling as a side effect of their treatment, Nash Health Care plans to offer lymphatic drainage massage, compression bandaging, meticulous skin care and exercise therapy. (Please note that this service is currently unavailable until funding can be secured to provide it)
· Nutrition - For patients that have difficulty swallowing, changes in taste, nausea, and loss of appetite, Nash Health Care provides a registered dietitian to provide information and education on tube feeding (if needed). Nutrition consultants and educational programs are also offered to help patients manage their weight both during and after treatment.