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PAN Featured in ASCO Daily News on How Cancer Patients Cope with Care Costs

 

WASHINGTON, DC, June 22, 2011 – A recent expert editorial in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Annual Meeting newsletter, ASCO Daily News, explores the uncertainty around access to and affordability of appropriate care for many cancer patients in the United States. The editorial highlights that quickly rising out-of-pocket costs for cancer care are driven by both innovation and the ability to do more for patients as well as insurance providers shifting more costs to patients in the form of higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

The editorial, authored by Jeffrey M. Peppercorn, MD, MPH, a breast cancer specialist and Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at Duke University School of Medicine, also discusses how costs affect care, the impact of healthcare reform and makes suggestions for addressing the challenge. Dr. Peppercorn highlights the Patient Access Network as an organization offering financial assistance to patients who struggle to pay out of pocket expenses associated with their medications.

Dr. Peppercorn states that guaranteed access to screening, timely diagnosis, treatment and supportive care should be the priority for any emerging policy. He concludes, “We must better prepare ourselves to inform our patients of the direct cost implications of medical decisions and to help ensure that all patients gain access to appropriate cancer care.”

PAN applauds Dr. Peppercorn’s insights and remains committed to working closely with healthcare providers to ensure its organization can be an even bigger part of the solution as out-of-pocket medical expenses continue to rise. “Healthcare providers are on the front lines helping patients struggling not just with serious diseases, but also with the stress and frustrations of the financial implications,” said Pat McKercher, Interim President of the Patient Access Network. “Healthcare providers are the most common referral source to PAN and often guide their patients through the entire process. We continue to strive to improve our services to help ease the burden of paying for treatment on patients as well as providers.”

The full editorial can be accessed on ASCO’s web site.

About PAN Foundation

PAN’s 31 existing disease funds cover conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. PAN provides grants of $1,500 to $10,000 per year to qualified patients to help pay for medications for these diseases. Since 2004, PAN has provided more than $165 million in assistance for out-of-pocket expenses to more than 120,000 patients in need. For more information about the Patient Access Network Foundation, visit www.PANfoundation.org.