21 Mar “You have cancer.” Now what?
by Aditi Narayan, MSW; LIVESTRONG Program Manager
When Ana heard the words “you have cancer” at the age of 23, she was in shock. She told her parents right away. Her mother wanted to know whether she could still have children after treatment for cervical cancer. Her father wanted her to get a second opinion. Her friends wanted to know how they could support her. Ana wanted to know whether she would live and how much having cancer would cost – financially, physically, and emotionally.
Her doctor told her about the side effects of the recommended treatments, but Ana left the appointment with more questions than answers about the myriad ways cancer would affect her for the rest of her life.
Do I have to tell my coworkers? How much time will I have to take off of work? Can I drive myself to chemotherapy or will someone else have to take me? How much will this cost? Can I afford this?
Unfortunately, Ana’s story is all too common among the more than 15.5 million people affected by cancer in the United States. While your health care team focuses on your medical needs, LIVESTRONG focuses on you, not the disease. Our free, personalized and confidential one-on-one navigation services can help with financial or insurance counseling, education on diagnosis and treatment options, access to discounted fertility preservation services, emotional support, clinical trial matching, and more. We can also help you and your family find essential resources to assist with daily practical issues. Our services are available via phone and online from 8:30am-5pm ET Mondays-Thursdays, and from 8:30am-4pm ET on Fridays. Call 1-855-220-7777 or go online at LIVESTRONG.org/CancerSupport to connect with a navigator today.
Recognizing that you and your loved ones may want to look for information on your own prior to or instead of contacting a navigator, we created an extensive suite of helpful articles, videos, and tools. Explore this information at LIVESTRONG.org/WeCanHelp.
Within one week of her call with her LIVESTRONG Navigator, Ana
- Had a better understanding of her cancer diagnosis, the recommended treatment and the potential side effects;
- She had received free medications to start the process of freezing her eggs at a discounted price;
- She had scheduled an appointment with another oncologist to get a second opinion after learning her insurance would cover it;
- She had discussed her financial options with her case manager so she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed with medical bills;
- She had signed up for an online support group her case manager found for her to learn about ways she could take care of herself during and after treatment; and
- By using LIVESTRONG Rally to mobilize her support network, she knew which of her family members and friends would be taking her to chemotherapy and bringing her meals for the next two weeks.
By connecting Ana with the resources she needed, LIVESTRONG saved Ana thousands of dollars in fertility preservation and stimulation medication costs, and also saved her the hours and energy it would have taken her to identify these resources and contact them. Contact us to learn about how we can help you today.
Since 2004, LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation has helped over 115,000 people like Ana and Iram navigate their cancer at no cost in English and Spanish by being a central hub of cancer support services.