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A study conducted by the nonprofit Cancer Support Community surveyed 3,500 of the more than 7,300 registered in their Cancer experience registry. The goal of the study was to create an accurate measure of the total cancer experience. This included looking at the social, emotional, physical, spiritual and financial effects of cancer patients.

The findings revealed that 50% of cancer patients are hesitant to speak to their doctors about their options and that they are facing challenges beyond the obvious physical impediments. In fact, 37% of patients studied claimed to be seriously concerned about the future and 35% have serious financial concerns.

Due to the physical limitations placed upon cancer patients, they often face a real threat of loosing their job. That stress in combination with treatment costs can be an overwhelming situation to face. 1/3rd of patient’s in the study stated that they had to reduce their grocery budget and 1/3rd had to completely drain their savings in order to pay for bills that were cancer related.

The study also revealed that patients are concerned about their health in the long-term. Specifically, 42% are concerned about proper nutrition and 1/3rd are concerned about fatigue and exercise. These concerns signify a need for better support systems in order to help those dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

This is where the Cancer Support Community is making an impact. When joining the community, patients complete a questionnaire and register profile. This provides the Cancer Support Community with important statistics but also supplies patients with online access to educational content related to their specific concerns and interests. The patients can also use their responses to connect with others going through similar situations and both give and receive advice.

“I signed up for the Cancer Experience Registry to give back to other women going through what I did, to let them know that they can get through it” –Linda P, Cancer Support Community Member.

It is this type of support system that patients need in order to get through the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. Studies that look at the personal impact of a cancer diagnosis need to be conducted on a regular basis in order to continue to create and improve support systems like the Cancer Support Community.

The full article on this topic can be found here.

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