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The Wellness Community Launches National Education Program Addressing the Cost of Cancer Care

WASHINGTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A study released earlier this month by Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University found that medical bills are involved in more than 60 percent of US bankruptcies, up from 50 percent just six years ago. Additionally, more than 75 percent of these families reported having health insurance but were overwhelmed by the out-of-pocket expenses. In the wake of these startling increases and the current recession, The Wellness Community announced today that it will be launching a comprehensive education program entitled, Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Coping with the Cost of Care on June 27th at one of their national centers, The Wellness Community -- San Francisco/East Bay located in Walnut Creek, CA.

The launch is the first of 20 workshops scheduled across the country in 2009 streamlining crucial resources available to people in treatment for cancer. Additionally, the program includes a free book that gives patients and their families a practical guide to help them navigate the complex challenges of managing the cost of cancer care.

Local Wellness Community centers across the country have been addressing patients' growing financial concerns through various community workshops focused on issues such as employment, insurance, and creditors. Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Coping the Cost of Care marks The Wellness Community's national effort to shed light on the psychological impact of incurring debt, sometimes for the first time, while coping with cancer.

Tina Seltzer, a TWC-San Francisco/East Bay support group participant, was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer in 2007. With two teenage daughters to raise, she decided to simply focus on following her oncologist's orders so she could get better for her kids. Currently uninsured and over $500,000 in medical debt she says, "I'm thrilled that TWC is creating an education program that not only highlights the questions that I should ask an employer, insurer and my health care team, but also outlines what resources are available once I get those answers."

A February 2009 study by Kaiser Family Foundation and American Cancer Society found that high cost-sharing, caps on benefits and lifetime maximums leave cancer patients vulnerable to high out-of-pocket health care costs. Additionally, cancer patients and survivors are often unable to find adequate and affordable coverage in the individual market. The Wellness Community (TWC), an international nonprofit, has been providing support and education programs to people affected by cancer free of charge over the last 27 years in over 100 locations.

"The recent economic downturn has certainly exacerbated financial concerns for cancer patients and their families. The Wellness Community is pleased to continue to address the growing needs of all people affected by cancer," said Kim Thiboldeaux, President & CEO of The Wellness Community.

To find an updated listing of workshops, visit To order your free copy of Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Coping with the Cost of Care, call 1-888-793-WELL. This program is made possible through unrestricted educational grants from Genentech BioOncology and Eli Lilly and Company.

About The Wellness Community

The Wellness Community is an international, non-profit organization that provides support, education and hope to people with cancer and those who care for them. By offering free professionally-led support groups, educational workshops, nutrition and exercise programs, and stress-reduction classes, The Wellness Community empowers individuals affected by cancer. TWC collaborates with academic and health care partners to conduct evidence-based research and provide training in the field of psychosocial oncology. TWC assists people affected by cancer at nearly 100 locations worldwide and online at

SOURCE The Wellness Community
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