May 26 2011
Heightened public awareness and an improved prognosis for cancer victims have made the cancer experience less threatening and isolating than it once was. While you may hear of some stories of recovering cancer patients experiencing job discrimination and being unable to obtain health or life insurance, these cases are decreasing in number. Several states have even enacted legislation to prevent insurance companies from canceling policies or from instituting other forms of discrimination. Health insurance can be obtained through large employers. Because large employers spread the insurance risk among many employees, insurance companies accept all new employees without underwriting.
On the personal side, assistance for the cancer patient is more readily available than ever before. Cancer support groups, cancer information workshops, and low-cost medical consultation are just a few of the forms of assistance now offered in many communities. Breast cancer activists learned a great deal from the success of the AIDS activists who pressured Congress to provide funds for AIDS research. The National Breast Cancer Coalition and other grass-roots groups have lobbied to increase cancer research dollars. Their efforts have been paying off. Government funding has increased substantially over the past decade. The battle for funds continues.
Increasing efforts in cancer research, improvements in diagnostic equipment, and advances in treatment provide hope for the future.