June 19, 2009

Why I Love The American Cancer Society


Early on in my five-year research stint on young adult cancer, I learned about the down sides of the American Cancer Society.  They have no direct support services, education, or research targeted to young adult cancer patients.   But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.  Here is why I love American Cancer Society anyway.

Check this out:  Young adults are the largest group of underinsured and uninsured adults in the United States.  This plays a huge part in our delayed diagnosis, and is a big reason why young adult cancer survival rates have not budged in 30 years.  Health insurance is one of our biggest barriers to survival, but who in the cancer community is stepping up the plate to talk about this?  Almost nobody but the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

I got a press release from ACS yesterday that calls upon Congress to enact legislation that will ditch evil pre-existing condition exclusions from health insurance. ACS CAN is asking legislators to make sure subsidies are available for cancer patients who can’t afford treatment.  ACS CAN spoke out about improving access to palliative care and so much more.  I get emails daily from young cancer survivors writing about these very issues.

When I was writing a section in my book about how young adult cancer survivors can make a difference, ACS was the only cancer org I found mobilizing to influence long lasting change around access to healthcare.  Only they truly understood that we have to use the power of our voices and votes to change cancer survival rates.  What could be more worthwhile?

Do you support the American Cancer Society?  Have you participated in fundraising efforts or action center?  What other kinds of services have they provided you with during cancer?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

June 15, 2009

Kairol’s Essay On Public Radio


Listen this week to me on the radio talking about how cancer, and my lack of health insurance, made me into an excellent liar. You can hear it this week online too by visiting the home page for The State We Are In and clicking on “This Week’s Show” next to my picture. Mine is the third story. It is about half way through the show.

A few months ago I got an email from a producer at Radio Netherlands Worldwide. “Do you have any good health insurance woes you’d like to craft into an essay for our international radio program, The State We’re In?”

*Do I?* Are they kidding? What young adult cancer patient in the U.S. doesn’t? The week I was diagnosed with cancer, I also learned that my former employer forgot to submit my COBRA papers and I had no health insurance. Here is where the lying part comes in.

My radio essay includes cancer diagnosis, banana milkshakes, sexual favors, lying to COBRA officials, and James Bond. The producers threw down a crazy techno track to it all and voila…. Have a listen. I hope you like it.

If public radio asked you for a good story about young adult cancer and health insurance woes – what would your story be?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook