On this episode of the podcast, Terry and Bob discuss the financial and legal hurdles of dealing with a cancer diagnosis. They note how doctor’s visits, tests, procedures, and therapies are just one part of the cancer journey. Knowing and understanding the laws that govern and protect patients’ right to work, along with health insurance coverage and reimbursement, are another significant challenge.
Terry interviews Monica Bryant, a cancer rights attorney and chief operating officer of Triage Cancer, who discusses the common myths about cancer treatments and the mistakes that she sees most often from patients. She argues that the first thing patients should do is ask questions, including not only about their treatment but also about the financial impacts of their care.
Monica points to a checklist of questions that her organization has created that patients should use after a cancer diagnosis. These questions touch on patients’ personal, professional, and financial lives. This information can help patients plan their future and also help their care teams. She notes her surprise at how people still don’t know about their rights to be their own advocates. She explains how patients can turn their personal advocacy into political advocacy because personal stories are the most compelling and educational for policymakers.
Patient correspondent Kate Pecora interviews cancer patient Noreen Czyzak, who explains her financial, professional, and personal cancer journey. She recounts how trying to juggle a job and cancer treatment led her into a deep depression. She discusses how she coped financially after she stopped working to put her health first. And she highlights the variety of assistance programs from FMLA, short-term disability, long-term disability, and SSDI. She notes how she is toying with whether to go back to work or not, and how her cancer diagnosis has given her a new lens on life.