Even in a year like last year, you stood with us. And together, we stood hand in hand with the patients and caregivers we serve.
2020 was an especially challenging year for cancer patients. Cancer screenings decreased, treatment plans were disrupted, vulnerable patients and caregivers lost their jobs and livelihoods, in-person services were suspended, and many patients experienced anxiety and isolation.
Had it not been for you, many cancer patients would not have received the vital support and navigation they needed during what was and continues to be a challenging time. Below are just 4 examples of what you made possible.
When we got the news of cancer during COVID-19, it was pretty overwhelming. There is a physical drain, but the mental drain is much harder. If it wasn't for everyone at the Cancer Support Community, this would be a much more difficult experience.
CSC Is Poised to Reach More Patients in Colorado in 2021
Through its healthcare partner Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, CSC helped over 12,000 patients navigate their diagnosis and access the support they needed in 2020. We are excited to open an affiliate in Durango later this year, which will significantly expand CSC's ability to serve patients in the southwestern part of the state.
CSC has received an additional grant to invite more Colorado patients to join the Cancer Experience Registry in 2021. Our research so far has revealed useful insights about cancer patients in Colorado. Notably, participating Colorado patients reported symptoms of fatigue and anxiety that were substantially worse than the national average. Insights gleaned from the report will be used by CSC to ensure that Colorado patients receive support that is more tailored to their specific needs.
CSC Became a Vital Source of Support During the Pandemic
CSC sprang into action early in the pandemic responding to patients’ needs. We established a COVID-19 resource page on our website to connect patients and caregivers to assistance funds and informative resources. In the first 3 months of the pandemic, traffic to CSC's website increased 25% year over year.
Thanks to your generous support, CSC established the Cancer Emergency fund and 1,560 patients in financial distress received emergency grants to help pay for urgent needs such as rent payments, groceries, and transportation.
Monthly activity on the professionally monitored discussion boards of MyLifeLine—our online support community—increased 30% through 2020, with 99.6% of the users expressing satisfaction with the experience.
Cancer Didn’t Stop Because of COVID-19 – Thanks to You, Neither Did We
Thanks to you, the Cancer Support Helpline expanded staff and hours to be open 7 days a week as patient demand doubled over last year. The Helpline responded to more than 41,000 calls and chats. These patients and caregivers called to talk about their concerns with housing, to seek support, to address financial or other concrete needs, and to cope with their emotions. Many of these concerns persist. Of the people who called into the Helpline at the start of this year: 77% told us they were worried about the future and what lies ahead, 70% felt lonely or isolated, and 69% needed help making treatment decisions.
“The most common phrase I hear on the Helpline is that the person I’m talking with is 'at their wits end.' They are looking for a lifeline, some support to help them hang on.”
— Kaley, Cancer Support Helpline Resource Specialist
These people do not have to face these concerns alone. They have quality, professional support because of you.
Ruby answers questions through approachable animated videos.
CSC Introduced Enhanced Channels for Outreach
With in-person services suspended, even more patients and caregivers turned to CSC's phone and digital channels for support. In response, the Helpline launched a video call option for those who prefer face-to-face conversations.
On our website, we introduced a first-of-its-kind virtual Cancer Support Community designed to welcome visitors into a safe, comforting online space. With guidance provided by our animated community navigator, Ruby, our virtual programming features curated videos that connect cancer patients and caregivers to education, support, and action opportunities from the comfort of their homes. We also introduced a microsurvey on our homepage that provides users with a gentle path to clear content, steps, and resources that meet their personal needs.
Additionally, CSC produced numerous educational Facebook Live events that were viewed over 65,000 times. The events covered topics of broad interest, ranging from healthcare policy to new treatment approaches.