NEW YORK, NY October 22, 2013 /Press Release/
Patient assistance programs can help breast cancer patients meet a variety of needs that can interfere with getting recommended adjuvant therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal treatments, according to a study published recently in the online edition of the Journal of Oncology Practice.
Most breast cancer patients who had information about patient assistance programs used them to learn more about adjuvant therapy, obtain psychosocial support, and overcome practical/financial obstacles to getting treatment, reported researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Researchers found that, in most cases, patients who were referred to assistance programs did contact organizations running programs, such as Cancer Care Inc., SHARE, and the Mount Sinai Breast Health Resources Program.
"Doctors have been frustrated by data showing that perhaps as many as 20 percent of women with breast cancer especially black and Hispanic women -- do not take advantage of lifesaving adjuvant therapies," said Nina Bickell, MD, MPH, Professor of Health Evidence and Policy and Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "Some women lack critical information about the value of these treatments, while others need help dealing with the emotional aspects of breast cancer treatment or with practical matters such as transportation, insurance, or childcare before taking the next step. Fortunately, there are many high-quality patient assistance programs that can help women address these issues."
For the study, Dr. Bickell and her team recruited 374 women with early-stage breast cancer who had recently undergone breast surgery. The researchers conducted a brief assessment to identify women who needed information, psychosocial support, or help with practical issues that might affect access to treatment. Half of the women received a customized list of patient assistance pro
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