Foundation provides resources for cancer patients
Posted September 29, 2009 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT
Apex, N.C. — Music was 47-year-old Lisa Decker's favorite therapy during and now after her cancer treatments.
Decker, of Apex, thought she was too young to worry about colorectal cancer, so she ignored symptoms like blood in her stool. But last year she got a colonoscopy.
“My husband and I were shocked at the time when the doctor looked at me and said, ‘You have a tumor,’” Decker said.Decker said.
Sharon Bigelow, executive director of the NavigateCancer Foundation, said Decker isn't alone.
“They get overwhelmed, especially at a time when they have heard the word cancer and they're paralyzed with fear,” Bigelow said.
Oncologists have limited time to help patients understand their cancer and their treatment options.
Patients often don't even know what questions to ask. That's why Decker requested the foundation's free personalized service, which is available over the phone or through a secure Internet patient portal.
“Sharon was able to answer some of the questions that I had,” Decker said.
“We don't make any medical decisions for patients,” Bigelow said. “We empower patients and families to ask the right questions to get to the right resources.”
Those resources include second opinions, clinical trials, financial assistance or even legal help.
The NavigateCancer Foundation depends entirely on grants and private donations to serve cancer patients.
Decker said she still logs on to prepare for follow up oncology visits and various tests.