A study presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium highlighted financial toxicity in underserved/underrepresented single mothers living with metastatic breast cancer, and how the situation can affect their physical, mental, and emotional health.
In this exclusive MedPage Today video, Maryam Lustberg, MD, director of the Center for Breast Cancer at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, discusses the challenges faced by these women and the resources available to help them get back on their feet.
Following is a transcript of her remarks:
We know that individuals diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer face a tremendous amount of financial burden due to treatment costs, transportation costs, as well as the inability to be able to work at the same level that they were previously working prior to diagnosis. There is a group of patients who are actually single mothers who are facing this metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, and I think obviously this group is particularly vulnerable and the foundation Infinite Strength is really aiming to specifically help this group of individuals during this very difficult time period.
These are young moms who have young kids at home. Obviously there’s childcare costs and expenses associated to raising children, and then when faced with an incurable illness that itself has its own costs and expenses and time away from home, it really creates a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety. We’ve had women come to us who are facing losing their homes, or they’re currently homeless while facing this metastatic breast cancer diagnosis.
So it’s hard enough to be dealing with the illness, and then to have the financial burden on top of it makes it extraordinarily difficult. And so our mission is to specifically fundraise to help these young moms and their kids be able to live longer and better, to be able to get to their treatments and really have as much support as they can during this very difficult time.
Infinite Strength Foundation as a nonprofit is now nationally available for qualified applicants, so single moms with children who are facing the diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer who have financial need can apply through our website. The application will be screened and eligible patients will be able to qualify for financial assistance to help them get back on their feet. And the funds could be used for food, housing, or other needs as they focus on their health.
We have helped over 100 patients in the last year, and our goal is to double the number in the coming year. So we will be actively fundraising throughout the country to be able to help this most vulnerable population.