Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis creates a lot of questions for patients, including “How will I afford my treatment?” The mountain of bills and expenses that come with breast cancer – even for those with good insurance – can cause fear and anxiety. As the expenses pile up, breast cancer patients across the country often face difficult decisions. And many may wonder: “Can I take care of my family and pay for treatment at the same time?”
The Kaiser Family Foundation found that more than 50 percent of women delay or avoid breast cancer care because of the cost, choosing to prioritize their families and children over their own health and instead using already limited financial resources for food, bills and/or transportation costs. No one should have to choose between paying for basic needs and getting treated for breast cancer.
That’s why Susan G. Komen’s Treatment Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to patients currently in treatment to help them with expenses associated with their basic needs. By helping people meet their out-of-pocket costs, TAP helps eliminate the need for people to have to choose between immediate needs and life-saving care.
TAP provides qualified patients with financial support, which improves patient treatment outcomes. In other words, people who have been served by TAP are able to continue with their treatment and improve their health. Based on program measures, more than 90 percent of TAP recipients have been able to remove the financial barriers to the breast cancer care they need. For example, according to a recent survey of TAP recipients, 95 percent reported that because of the support, they were able to keep an upcoming treatment appointment, 93 percent reported being able to get their treatment related medications, and 92 percent reported being able to get their treatment within 30 days.
Last year, where more people faced financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Komen was able to serve over 4,000 people, providing more than $1.2 million in support. Komen’s Treatment Assistance Program continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of breast cancer patients. As a result of increased needs for housing-related support, patients can now use TAP assistance for rent, utilities and housing expenses. And starting this month, Komen is raising the income eligibility for TAP so that more patients can qualify for assistance.
A patient supported by TAP recently reached out to express her thanks for the support, saying “Before I went to bed last night, I checked my phone messages and to my surprise, you wonderful people left me a message stating I had been accepted for relief from rent. My mind that is normally racing because of all I’m going through, now is feeling calm. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
No person should ever have to choose between putting food on the table or paying for their medicine or necessary medical treatments. Komen is committed to breaking this cycle for breast cancer patients through the Treatment Assistance Program and beyond.
To access the program, patients in need of financial help can call 1-877-GO-KOMEN or visit https://www.komen.org/treatment-assistance-program/