Let’s face it. Every time we turn around these days something has either canceled, closed or stopped. But as we deal with one closed door after another, there are, unfortunately, some things that haven’t gone away and maybe never will. Cancer is one of those.
“People are still being diagnosed every day,” said Lisa Green, executive director of the Cancer Society of Greenville. “Cancer hasn’t stopped.”
She said she has noticed fewer newly-diagnosed patients reaching out to the Cancer Society these days – less than half the number that were registered before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am sure it is because they just aren’t venturing out much at all, so they aren’t reaching out to us either,” Green said, adding that her fear is that because people aren’t being diagnosed early, many preventable cancers are progressing undetected.
“We definitely want people to continue getting their well checks. It is vital to catch cancer as early as possible for the most successful outcome,” she explained.
Patients who register with the Cancer Society of Greenville could be eligible for transportation assistance, specialized home health equipment, nonmedical financial assistance, prescribed medication assistance, breast prostheses and bras, ostomy supplies, nutritional supplements, disposable items and lymphedema garments.
Green mentioned that the Cancer Society has seen an uptick in transportation requests since the pandemic began. The Society will reimburse registered patients who qualify for transportation to and from appointments.
Everything the Cancer Society of Greenville does right now is provided at a social distance. For example, Green explained that financial assistance checks are curbside pickup only, as are supplies such as wigs and prostheses.
All the Society’s counseling and support group services are provided online through telehealth. The Society has a licensed therapist on staff and also offers support for bereavement, caregivers and cancer patients and to heighten cancer awareness for the general public as well.
Green mentioned that the Society’s counseling service that has seen an increase in need is its caregiver support group.
“Caregivers can’t see their loved one in the hospital at this current time, and that is very hard for them,” she empathized.
Like all nonprofit organizations right now, the Cancer Society of Greenville has had to cancel its big fundraising events and all other events as well.
“Those were our biggest moneymakers, so it is hard,” she said. “Our greatest need right now is donations since we really do not need volunteers due to our events being canceled.”
The Cancer Society of Greenville assists all residents of Greenville County, but it now has a new division – the Cancer Association of Pickens County.
“Our cancer patients need us,” Green said earnestly. “They are the vulnerable ones. We have not stopped because of this pandemic. We are here 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. five days a week. We want to help them during this difficult time.”
For more information on the Cancer Society of Greenville or if you need to register as a newly-diagnosed cancer patient, visit www.cancersocietygc.org.
By Theresa Stratford