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Breast cancer on a budget: low income resident deals with financial hardship

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Toledo, Ohio (WNWO)-- "It's a very scary feeling, when you don't have that money and you know you have to live," said Lois Reed describing the moment she found she was diagnosed with an early breast cancer.

Her case was so early doctor's called it pre-breast cancer, but that didn't stop Reed's concernand for good reason. According to a 2008 study published in the British Journal of Cancer, survival rates were lower for breast cancer patients from deprived backgrounds than those from affluent backgrounds. Reed is a low income Lucas County resident

" I cried and said how am I going to pay for this?"

She was given a phone number by one of her nurses who turned out to be hope in the form of a telephone number.

"It was my direct number and I said just don't worry about it we'll take care of you," said Andrea Vasquez, community health worker with Toledo Lucas County Care Net . Vasquez deals with low income patients, experiencing many of the difficulties her patients face personally.

"I've been through the struggles," said Vasquez. "A lot of the resources I tell them about are ones that I have used to get back on my feet."

CareNet helps provide medical services for low income Lucas county residents also helping with breast cancer patients with pre and post treatment needs like food, housing, and transportation. It's funded through a grant with Komen Northwest Ohio.

" With our funding we're able to assist those with active treatment," said Julie Grasson, Assistant Director with CareNet.

Reed was able to beat cancer with a double mastectomy in July, using the financial support from CareNet. Now she's spreading a message for others, stressing the importance of prevention and getting checked early.

"If you have anything that happens to your body, pay attention to it," said Reed.


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