Guam Cancer Care provides resources for patients - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam Cancer Care provides resources for patients

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - There's a new non-profit organization that has been created to bridge the gap for cancer patients on Guam who are in need of resources to help give them a fighting chance at surviving. Their motto is simple: "Helping Save a Life, One Person at A Time".  Guam Cancer Care was created by Terry Cuabo and Christine Kline, who saw a need on the island.

Cuabo told KUAM News, "We know there's a lot of gaps in services for cancer care and cancer patients are a specific subgroup that we have to take care of, because timing is of the essence for them the clock is ticking." The two were instrumental in the passage of Guam Public Law 31-39, which was introduced to help cancer patients like 29-year-old Ryan Reyes, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Because of the passage of the law, which Cuabo and Kline advocated for, Reyes is now able to get the very stem cell transplant that could save his life.

"We know there are a lot of cancer patients out there that are sitting at home either they lack the knowledge or they don't have the finances to get the care," Cuabo added. "We have the passion and the compassion to help cancer patients and that's why we formed it because we want to provide direct support services to help people like Ryan and Mr. Van Meter and it doesn't end there. Our goal is to make sure all Guam cancer patients get cancer care in a timely manner."

Guam Cancer Care provides direct support services in the form of patient navigation and advocacy - something that hasn't been offered on the island before to help guide them from their diagnosis to paying for cancer treatment and knowing what resources are available to them. Kline said, "If they don't have insurance we look to the resources of MIP, Medicaid, disability if they've been fighting this disease for a while and it has taken a toll on employment. We look to see if they're eligible for COBRA if they've been terminated from work or have taken a leave of absence of been asked to resign."

The services - provided free of charge by these volunteers - directly help relieve some of the overwhelming burden for cancer patients like Henry Van Meter, who found out in April that he has cancer in his colon, liver and lungs. "I was trying to figure out where do I get help? What's the next step? Everything was going through my mind," he recalled. "She told me what to do, where to go, and bam! I got it everything she said came true. Guam Cancer Care is there for you."

Guam Cancer Care is also conducting a survey to help identify needs of cancer patients.  The organization is located on the 2nd floor of the Villo Trust Building in Tamuning and more details about the organization can be found online at GuamCancerCare.org.

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