The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Health & Family

April 15, 2010

Helping hands: Resources available for cancer victims

JOPLIN, Mo- — Those who have been diagnosed with cancer have resources, help and support available to them from local nonprofit organizations dedicated to eliminating cancer and promoting early detection and prevention.

American Cancer Society

The local offices of the American Cancer Society offer hundreds of programs, services and supplies to cancer patients, said Ted Easley, community manager for the Southwest Missouri region.

One such program is called Patient Navigator. People who have been diagnosed with cancer can access the society’s network of oncology nurses and specialists for help understanding their diagnosis, treatment options and insurance issues, Easley said.

“When people are diagnosed with cancer, they’re entering into a vast foreign world,” Easley said. “The No. 1 thing that people want is information, and that’s what we provide for more people than anyone.”

The society also provides hundreds of wigs, breast prosthesis and nutritional supplements to cancer patients. Also offered is help with transportation and local lodging for cancer patients who live outside the Four-State Area but need treatment at Joplin hospitals, he said.

The society also provides support groups for cancer patients. A group called Look Good, Feel Better is for women who have been diagnosed with cancer and who are going through aggressive treatments that often affect their body and skin, Easley said.

“We partner with local cosmetologists who will meet as a group at a local hospital, and they teach them how to reapply makeup, how to style their wig, how to wear hats,” Easley said. “It’s very important to a woman to feel good when they go out.”

The American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event is Relay for Life, an often overnight or 24-hour event in which teams take turns walking or running around a track.

For every $1 raised by the American Cancer Society in fiscal year 2009, 33 percent went to national research programs; a quarter went to patient services such as support groups, transportation services and equipment; and 22 percent went to educational and advocacy programs, Easley said. The remaining 20 percent went to fundraising and management costs, he said.

Joplin-area Relay for Life fundraisers will start in May and run through July, he said.

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