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American Cancer Society Grants Help Cancer Patients Overcome Transportation Barriers

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Receives Patient Lodging and Transportation Awards
Mon, 04/25/2022 - 08:00

younger woman helping an older woman into a car

New Brunswick, N.J., April 25, 2022 – Further supporting Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey’s goal of providing world class patient-centered care, the American Cancer Society has awarded Rutgers Cancer Institute $60,000 in patient transportation and lodging grants, which will help alleviate the financial burden of transportation and lodging costs for cancer patients. 

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 55,730 New Jersey residents will learn they have cancer this year, and the availability and cost of transportation can significantly impact a patient’s access to treatment. Cancer patients undergoing treatment frequently require assistance getting to and from facilities, often adding stressful financial and logistical burdens on top of their diagnosis. 

“Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in our state, thus we often have patients come from locations far and wide for their cancer care,” notes Rosemarie Slirzewski, MSW, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker at Rutgers Cancer Institute. “This demographic alone makes having the option of a hotel stay so important and supportive, as our patients often experience barriers to care due to travel distance, the financial expense of gas and transportation, as well as physical challenges related to their diagnosis and/or treatment.” 

The American Cancer Society, the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, awards community transportation grants at a local level to health systems, treatment centers and community organizations. These grants are available in select communities through an application process and focus on addressing unmet transportation needs of cancer patients, particularly vulnerable populations experiencing an unequal burden of cancer.

“These grants are extremely helpful for our patients who live a far distance away, do not drive, have limited family support, and/or have multiple side effects after their treatment. It gives our patients the ability to stay in a comfortable place near their hospital and Rutgers Cancer Institute, making their difficult journey just a little bit easier,” notes Elizabeth Brady, MSW, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker at Rutgers Cancer Institute. “I currently have a patient who said she felt safer knowing she was staying closer to her treatment center. She also reported feeling grateful that she did not have to rely on her caregiver to make the long drive for daily radiation treatments, taking a little bit of the burden off her family members.”

Like many patients who participate in clinical trials that may not be available elsewhere, Lauren Rabinovitz, a breast cancer patient being treated at the Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute, lives four hours away from the site where she receives her treatment. 

“My side effects are significant and staying in a hotel (near the center) is such an incredible support to me during a very stressful time. While the study pays for the medical costs associated with the trial, travel is not covered. I feel very grateful for the American Cancer Society and Rutgers Cancer Institute for this wonderful support!”


About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute, together with RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including bone marrow transplantation, proton therapy, CAR T-cell therapy and complex surgical procedures. Along with clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not widely available – patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as through RWJBarnabas Health facilities. To make a tax-deductible gift to support Rutgers Cancer Institute, call 848-932-8013 or visit cinj.org/giving.


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Krista Didzbalis 
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732-507-8307
krista.didzbalis@rutgers.edu
 
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