The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

We must speak now for choice in cancer care


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jan. 26, 2017 - 12:37 PM

I’m an advocate for patient choice. Let me tell you why.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2012. In the blink of an eye, life changed greatly. A lot of information came our way. A lot of decisions needed to be made. And the biggest one – choosing where to get cancer care.

I began treatment at a facility in Atlanta, but my health continued to decline. So did my hope. As a wife and mother of three children, I wasn’t willing or ready to give up. My family wasn’t ready. We wanted more options.

I’m forever grateful for the option that came to life in our Newnan back yard the same year I was diagnosed – Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The hospital, I believe, saved my life. Nearly five years later, I’m living with pancreatic cancer and owe that to the fact I was able to choose my care.

Cancer affects and connects nearly everyone in some way. I found strength in my husband, children, friends, community, cancer support organizations – the people who rallied around me and became “Cissy’s Army.”

There’s another army I want you to know about. It’s called Speak Now Georgia, and it’s made up of patients, caregivers, families and advocates who believe that patients deserve choice when it comes to their cancer care. Sadly, not everyone in Georgia gets that choice because a state law says CTCA can see only a limited number of patients from Georgia. Just 35 percent.

Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

I can’t imagine what I‘d have done if I was told, “We’re sorry, Cissy. We aren’t allowed to treat you here in your hometown because we’ve met our quota.”

I thank God every day I’m able to receive treatment at CTCA. Patients deserve choice. It’s that simple, and it’s why I urge you to Speak Now.

Georgia cancer patients need you to Speak Now. Go to www.SpeakNowGeorgia.org, learn more, and most importantly, act. Contact your state legislators about changing this restrictive law. There isn’t time to waste.

(Cissy Hass is a pancreatic cancer survivor, advocate and spokesperson for SpeakNowGeorgia.orgShe lives in Newnan.)