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Opinion: We must protect cancer patients during COVID-19 pandemic

Opinion: We must protect cancer patients during COVID-19 pandemic

I’m a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, writing on behalf of cancer survivors and their caregivers. I write out of concern for this sector of the population because of the effect COVID-19 has had on them. Eleven percent of New Jersey’s COVID fatalities have been individuals who were already battling cancer, then later contracted the virus. This pandemic has caused myriad obstacles for cancer patients who’ve been recently diagnosed or who require continued long-term care.

Eighty seven percent of cancer patients are experiencing disruptions in treatment and testing regimens. This crisis has made it difficult to maintain contact with health care providers, all of whom are overwhelmed and overworked at this point in time. Regular access to treatment is difficult to come by, which increases the probability for cancer cells to spread or even return in some patients. A number of research studies have been temporarily suspended; not a good thing when time is of the essence. All of this, plus the financial burden of paying health insurance premiums and medical co-pays is causing widespread anxiety for patients and caregivers alike.

We collectively, must stand together to protect our most vulnerable members of society. We must make this a priority. We must not leave cancer patients behind.

I implore readers to make a contribution to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Over the past three months, gifts from donors have decreased dramatically. Many ACS fundraising events have been postponed or cancelled. However, please know we are always here for you with cancer help and information when you need it. Call us anytime day or night at 1-800-227-2345 or visit us at www.cancer.org .

Your generous donations are graciously accepted to insure that cancer patients receive services they need now, and continue to have their needs met in the future.

We at the ACS are optimistically looking toward the future. Our dedicated volunteers are working on a safe social distancing plan so we may host community events soon. We are especially excited about Bark For Life of Central NJ, our statewide dog walk and festival to raise funds and awareness in the fight against cancer. Visit our webpage www.RelayForLife.org/BarkCentralNJ to make your donation to the American Cancer Society. Check back often for event updates and cancer related information.


Ruthanne Brown
American Cancer Society
Northeast Division
Media & Publicity Senior Volunteer