Metastatic Breast Cancer: Access to Care and Why It Matters

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"We've lost three rental homes and a motorhome because I don't work due to stage 4 breast cancer."

"We've lost three rental homes and a motorhome because I don't work due to stage 4 breast cancer. I've hired an attorney. I've gone to a hearing and received partial disability. We've asked for a reconsideration and I'm still waiting ... I've been fighting this for four years." - Carrie, Maryland

"During that two-year waiting period for Medicare, I completely cleaned out every dime I had in my small savings, I moved in with family and I lived off credit cards, accumulating quite a hefty debt. I was paying $500 to continue my personal insurance policy and then the normal cost of living (rent, food, transportation, gas). I emptied the bank and ran up thousands of dollars in debt before the [five-month] waiting period was up. Even once I finally began receiving my disability payments, it was only a small amount (compared to full-time salary) and my first priority was paying the $500 monthly premium for my insurance to continue ... [Now], they deduct the cost of my Medicare premium from my already meager disability check, then I have to use what's left for my personal insurance policy. Whatever's left after both of those costs, I get to live off of. It's a sad system but I'm stuck." - Tia, Nevada

"I had to do whatever it took to support my family (I'm a single mom) and had to get a job while undergoing radiation and having bad bleeding because I was already showing symptoms of MBC, but I had no insurance to be sent to a gynecologist ... To me it is very stressful, and I cannot even have savings or a decent job to cover my expenses. In my case, also, the waiting period delayed my treatment and my quality of life ... I feel very angry and frustrated because we should be able to get the benefit as soon as we are diagnosed so we can at least get rid of the financial and medical stress and have a little bit of quality of life before we pass. Some of us get the benefit after passing." - Natalia, Florida

These are quotes I gathered from women I know who have metastatic breast cancer.

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Gary Ricke