As Baby Boomers age, more hear a word that scares the hell out of them – cancer. While scary, it is not the death sentence it once was. According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis is expected to grow from 14.5 million in 2014 to nearly 19 million in 2024. Of course, cancer does not only strike older people. In 2014, an estimated 15,780 children and adolescents were diagnosed with cancer.
Hospitals to help
While many people that receive a cancer diagnosis are devastated, there is a positive side to large numbers – more and more resources are being invested in cures and places you can turn for help. Expenditures for cancer care are expected to rise to $156 billion in 2020. With greater resources comes greater complexity. And, in places far from population centers, it is hard to find solutions that fit local needs. To mitigate these issues, there are a lot of organizations you can turn to for help. It is useful to start with hospitals.
Non profit organizations
Hospitals are not the only place you can turn. There are many organizations online and off that can help. The following is a partial list.
- The American Cancer Society has a mission to free the world from cancer.
- The American Childhood Cancer Organization aims to educate, support, serve, and advocate for families of children with cancer, survivors, and health professionals.
- Cancer Commons is an online network of experts that aims to help patients find the personalized options that best fit their needs for free.
- Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by the neurofibromatoses.
- Childhood Leukemia Foundation supports families and children with Leukemia.
- Colon Cancer Alliance was founded in by patients, survivors, caregivers and others who have been affected by colorectal cancer.
- Foundation for Women's Cancer is an organization to increase awareness and education, support expanded research and training, and provide knowledge and hope for women diagnosed with cancers specific to them.
- The Life Raft Group aims to ensure the survival of GIST patients by connecting their needs with the worldwide community of GIST advocates and researchers.
- The National Cancer Institute conducts and supports cancer research and provides information about cancer detection, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, control, care, and survivorship.
- National Cervical Cancer Coalition is dedicated to serving women with, or at risk for, cervical cancer and HPV disease.
- National Children's Leukemia Foundation provides services, support, and referrals for leukemia patients and their families.
- National CML Society was created by and for patients and their families in order to provide a centralized hub of information for this rare form of leukemia.
- National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention is a national advocacy and awareness raising organization.
- National Organization for Rare Disorders is a federation of voluntary health organizations dedicated to helping people with rare "orphan" diseases and assisting the organizations that serve them.
While the above is a partial list, some find it lengthy and intimidating. Where do you start? While some are more obvious by their names than others, what is the one that is the right fit for you?
A new expert network (listed above) is being assembled online called Cancer Commons (cancercommons.org) to provide life-saving knowledge to anyone looking for cancer solutions. Cancer Commons reviews your case, consults with leading cancer experts, and gives you evidence-based opinions free to patients and their families. A cancer survivor founded Cancer Commons. He did his own research and found a vaccine that saved his life. He started this organization to help others.
Life Raft Group
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST) are rare. Because of this fact, they are often misdiagnosed, and people with them often have difficulty finding resources to help. The Life Raft Group (liferaftgroup.org) is an invaluable organization for connecting GIST patients with medical resources and other patients to help.
Anyone that has gone to battle knows that cancer can be a tough opponent. The hope is that the information in this brief post can help you find what you need to begin fighting the disease in its many forms. Early detection, if possible, makes the battle so much easier. That’s why it is important to get tests and scans periodically even though you don’t have any symptoms, you may think you are too busy, or you don’t like to visit doctors. The quicker you find any problems, the easier and less expensive it is to solve them. Best of luck.