Oklahoma cancer center awarded grant to help patients get to treatment

OKLAHOMA CITY – A cancer diagnosis can be devastating for a family.

In addition to the physical speed bumps patients have to overcome, there is often a financial strain associated with necessary treatments for the disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, around 19,000 Oklahomans will learn that they have cancer this year. Officials say getting to scheduled treatments may be on the of the greatest roadblocks most patients face.

As a result, the American Cancer Society has awarded a transportation grant to Stephenson Cancer Center to address the transportation needs of cancer patients.

“As we lead the fight for a world without cancer, it is our responsibility to find new ways to collaborate, innovate and drive support for these patients,” said Jeff Fehlis, executive vice president of the American Cancer Society. “We’re proud to collaborate with community health partners to serve individuals in areas with higher burdens of cancer and limited or no access to transportation because even the best treatment can’t work if a patient can’t get there.”

Officials say more than 40 percent of Stephenson Cancer Center patients come from 50 miles or more away.

“These patients come here to receive advanced and specialized cancer care from Oklahoma’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center,”  Robert Mannell, MD, Director of Stephenson Cancer Center, said.  “American Cancer Society transportation grants will provide hundreds of Oklahoma cancer fighters with the means to travel to receive this care.  Without this type of assistance, these cancer patients would not be able to access early-phase clinical trials and advanced therapies.”