Those questions and others are exactly why the L5 Foundation exists. We raise money to meet the every day, practical needs of cancer patients in treatment and their families. Dr. Susan Newman, L5 Foundation’s founder, saw firsthand that her patients were making these difficult choices. And there is research to back up what she saw.
A Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved study assessed a cohort of 404 urban cancer patients using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Security Survey Module.
Eighteen percent of the patients were found to have very low food security, 38% had low food security, 17% marginal, and 27% had high food security. All 404 patients completed the survey module
Even more telling, 76% of participants reported having less money to spend on food since starting treatment (data were missing for this question for 14 patients). Among the reasons reported for having less money: the cost of transportation to appointments (84%), job loss/decrease in work hours due to frequent appointments (81%), more expensive diet needed while undergoing cancer treatment (59%), appointment fees (39%), and cost of cancer medication(s) (26%).
L5 helps meet food security issues with the Meaningful Meals program. Gas cards for transportation assistance and emergency funds for prescriptions and other one-time needs are distributed to cancer treatment centers in the Knoxville area. If you are a patient who needs assistance, or you know a patient in need, speak to a social worker at your treatment center.