In 2013, an estimated 1,660,290 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States – more than ever before. Perhaps due to this increase, we’ve been seeing more people starting fundraisers for cancer than any other cause. So, naturally, providing information on cancer fundraising has become one of our priorities at GiveForward.
Here’s a quick overview of the physical, financial and emotional effects of cancer on patients, along with some resources to help you help a loved one win the fight against cancer.
What cancer does to the body
Cancer is a disease that essentially makes your cells turn against you – normal cells glitch and begin to replicate uncontrollably and invade other tissues, forming tumors. A cancerous tumor (called a malignant tumor) will spread from one isolated tissue to nearby tissues and other parts of the body.
These new masses of tissue interfere with the body’s normal functioning and, if they spread enough, can cause the body to completely shut down. Because of this, cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.
But if caught early enough, many cancers are treatable. Some of the most common treatments for cancer include chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which fight against the disease by killing the abnormal cells.
The cost of cancer
Cancer treatment takes a toll on the body, both physically and emotionally, but can also significantly impact the patient’s wallet.
Many don’t realize that the list of expenses for a cancer patient doesn’t only cover specific treatments, but everything from doctor visits and lab tests to hospital stays and home care, which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
A 2010 study by the National Cancer Institute estimated that the amount of money Americans spend on cancer treatment each year would increase 27 percent between 2010 and 2020, to reach a staggering $158 billion per year.
And having medical insurance doesn’t eliminate all out-of-pocket expenses. A 2011 Duke University medical study surveying 216 cancer patients found that average out-of-pocket costs for treatment exceeded $700 a month, despite the fact all but one of the participants had health insurance.
For someone who is regularly fighting a civil war with their body, these costs can be crippling, and can result in patients not following recommended treatment procedures.
Some patients in the Duke study reported not filling prescriptions, rationing medications, skipping treatment appointments and opting out of recommended tests in order to save money.
In need of a support system
It can be hard for someone battling cancer to deal with the physical, emotional and financial hardships brought on by their illness. So it helps to have a strong support system from friends and family backing them up.
But often friends and family may not know how they can help when a loved one is dealing with cancer.
Creating a cancer fundraising profile for a loved one is an excellent way to show your support, while also helping to cover their mounting medical expenses.
In addition to providing an easy way to raise funds that requires relatively little effort from individuals, a fundraising page also creates a space for friends and family to stay connected and leave words of encouragement by commenting on the page.
The beneficiary of the fundraiser can post text, photo and video updates to let their loved ones know how they’re doing, giving them an emotional lifeline to lift their spirits when times get hard.
By combining the power of crowdfunding with social sharing and interaction, online cancer fundraising can help lighten the financial burden of cancer treatment while easing patients’ minds and lifting their spirits through the loving words of family and friends.