Why do women wait to get cancer treatment?

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One of the most common responses CMN Hospital get after discussing our treatment plans with potential patients is that “I want to come, but only after…” Then, the excuses follow: Timmy will graduate from college in two months, only I can make my daughter’s favorite meals, my second cousin is getting married in a week…” The list goes on; it’s endless.

Cancer is such a pressing illness, and the risk of metastasis is ever-present; the diagnosis, or stage, could change at a moment’s notice. So, why do women wait to come get treatment? 

“Treatment is a financial burden.”

We first want to discuss the primary reason for why treatment is delayed, and explain that it is a valid explanation. Cancer treatment almost always comes with a price tag, regardless of it is traditional, alternative, or a synthesis of both. It is understandable to delay treatment for the shortest amount of time possible while you fundraise. One way to expedite the fundraising process is to remember that your cancer support community wants to help you in any way they can. While they might not think they have enough to give, they do. The spare change hidden throughout their car, giving up a $4 coffee two weeks in a row, asking all of the ladies they hang out with to donate $1… the possibilities are endless, and they all add up. So, while it is true and valid that treatment is postponed until you can raise enough money to go, it is also entirely possible that you will be able to go sooner than you think.  For more resources on fundraising, visit Angels for Shannon here.

 

CMN recognizes that a common determent for timely treatment is finances; we take this into account and our treatment plan is very affordable, especially considering all that is included in our services. CMN is a 24 hour, 7-day experience for a total of 28 days. Your compassionate care does not stop after your medical treatments end. Rather, we provide programs and activities to assist in your mental and emotional healing as well because our doctors and nursing staff recognize that fighting cancer is a non-stop battle. Youare our number one priority, and because we recognize the financial investment you have made in our health, we work endlessly to make sure we are providing you with valuable service.

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You are the homemaker and CEO of your household.

Perhaps the most common reason for why women delay treatment is that they are the head of their household. You have so much responsibility, and accomplish so many tasks throughout the day – from cooking, to cleaning, to being the primary childcare giver – and those shoes will be nearly impossible to fill while you are away getting cancer treatment. Regardless of if they work a ‘first shift’ through employment outside of the household, women consistently spend more hours taking care of the household than men. [1]

As such, it is understandable why women are hesitant to leave to receive treatment and place so much extra responsibility on others. However, it is important to look at the positive side of this scenario.  You are taking the necessary steps to ensure that you will be able to attend to your family for years to come, because potential for this may be hindered should you delay your cancer treatment. You are giving your children the opportunity to strengthen their bond with their father, grandparents, or other family members or family friends – the people you love and that you knowwill do everything they can to provide all they can for your children. You are demonstrating strength and courage when you make the decision to pursue cancer treatment as soon as possible, and who better for your children to learn these traits from than you?

You don’t want to miss out on special events with your support system, and you need to be able to communicate with them if you go to treatment.

CMN stands for comprehensive treatment; this includes your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. As such, we recognize how important it is to interact with and stay involved in the lives of your support system. We often hear women who have interest in our hospital express that they do want to come to CMN to get treatment, but only after a special event (a graduation, a wedding, a funeral, an elementary school play, etc.) has passed. While we understand and recognize that you want to be present, you need to fight your cancer first

CMN Hospital works to be accommodating to you and your support system. We offer exceptional Wi-Fi for you to be able to call, text, Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime your loved ones. Should you want to have a support person present for the entirety of your stay, CMN is unique in that we allow you to bring a companion – free of additional cost (including stay and meals – with you when you come to get treatment in our facility. Unlike other hospitals, especially those located in the United States, we also allow visitors (including children!) at virtually any time that you are not receiving a medical treatment. Your visitors are allowed to stay overnight as well, because we know how important time with your loved ones is. 

“I’m afraid to get treatment in Mexico.”

This is an extremely valid concern, and one that we address with potential patients frequently. It is important to keep in mind that the potential of risk varies by location, similar to how different cities are more or less dangerous than others in the United States, England, or any other area around the world. Mexico is no different, but Mexico does not have immoderate crime rates in comparison than others. Mexico covers nearly two million square kilometers and is the sixth largest country in the Americas; it is illogical to believe that the crime rate of one region is duplicate or similar in another. [2]

CMN is located in San Luis, Sonora, Mexico, roughly six blocks from the Mexico-United States border. As such, our location is unique in that: 

“tourists are the focus in these border communities, [so] the currency of choice is the American dollar and English is almost universally spoken.  Most tourist-oriented businesses are within an easy stroll of the border -- and Canadians outnumber Mexicans on busy winter days.” [3]

We pride ourselves on being located in one of the safest areas of Mexico, and we want our patients and their guests to feel safe always. If you would like more information regarding our location and the local attractions that neighbor us, or would like assistance in making travel arrangements to our hospital, you can contact us here.

“I don’t want to go just yet because I need to ensure I’ll have privacy while I’m there. I also need to go somewhere that can accommodate my current diet.”

CMN knows how important privacy is to our cancer patients; as accommodating as we are with allowing support companions and making sure there is plenty of time for family visitation, we are even more protective of our patients’ privacy. Compassionate care needs to cover all ends of the spectrum, and our patients need to be as comfortable as possible. Our exceptional cancer treatment program is housed in a specific wing of the hospital, meaning you will not be roomed next to someone with a different ailment than you. This is partially to protect you from potential illnesses, as it is crucial that you maintain a healthy immune system throughout the duration of your stay, but also because we recognize the importance of privacy for all of our patients.

For times when you feel social, having a separate cancer wing helps in fostering a special support community. You will have the opportunity to connect and bond with other women who are fighting cancer just like you are; when you want to, you will be able to lean on each other for support, grow together, and talk about non-cancer related topics, just like regular friends.

We also recognize how important diet is to those fighting cancer, and we want to empower you through your diet. You will meet with a nutritionist upon your arrival, and you will be able to work togetherto come up with a plan; CMN will never tell you what to do. We value your input in any conversation, including those about your dietary needs or desires. Every individual is different, so everyone will have different dietary preferences, and we will honor that to the best of our ability. CMN does not sponsor one particular diet, rather we believe the one that enables you to feel your best is the right one for you. 

Looking at the Science: Why do women wait?

Further, a 2014 study found that, although the reasoning may differ across races, there are significant numbers of women of all racial backgrounds delaying their breast cancer treatment:

 “household size, losing a job due to one’s diagnosis, and immediate reconstruction were associated with delay in the overall population and among White women. Immediate reconstruction and treatment type were associated with delay among African American women. Racial disparities in treatment delay were not evident in the overall population. In the adjusted models, African American women experienced greater delay than White women for younger age groups.” [4]

Breaking this down further, the study revealed that, “among African American women, who were a minority in the overall population, immediate reconstruction and first course of treatment were associated with delay. The adjusted models demonstrated that women with 2-person households experienced greater delay than women with other household sizes and women who had mastectomy with immediate reconstruction experienced greater delay than women who received other treatments.”4The study also found that “women ages 50–64 and without symptoms tended to be more likely” to delay their breast cancer treatment, particularly of the Caucasian descent.

 It is extremely important that you not wait to seek treatment, as the risk of metastasis increasing each day you delay. In a separate 2014 study “of 553 patients in Pittsburgh with breast cancer metastasis, treatment delay was defined as the time in days between the date of diagnosis of initial breast cancer metastasis (the date of first metastatic biopsy or CT scan) and the date of the initiation of first treatment. Treatment delays of over 12 weeks were related to adverse survival outcomes.”[5] Your life is valuable, and you should not put it in greater risk of harm’s way by putting off treatment.

Final Thoughts

Cancer is an extremely intense fight; it tests you not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. The battle brings to you new decisions to make, and it may seem as though you have to make 1,000 choices a day, on top of the daily responsibilities you already have. It’s okay - and completely normal - to feel hesitant or nervous, about your medical decisions, especially those that involve your treatment plan. However, waiting to act is still acting; your cancer will not recognize that you’re only delaying the treatment while you figure out how your house will run while you’re gone; cancer will not halt its ability to spread, ever. 

You play such a major role in all of the lives around you, even more than you may realize, so it is important that you take the steps necessary to be there for them as long as you can. This means that you cannot risk your cancer progressing or metastasizing by delaying your treatment. Be strong, and take the initiative needed to fight your cancer head-on. You have more power, support, strength, and courage than you may realize.

Contact Us

CMN Hospital provides alternative cancer treatment and is looking forward to helping you fight your cancer battle. We are ready to communicate with you! To contact us, email us at info@cmnact.com or click here for other ways to contact us at your convenience.


[1]Sifferlin, Alexandra. “Women Are Still Doing Most of the Housework.” Time. 2014.

[2]“The World Factbook: Mexico.” Central Intelligence Agency.

[3]“Going to Mexico.” Visit Yuma.

[4]McGee, Sasha A. et. al. “Determinants of breast cancer treatment delay differ for African American and White women.” NCBI.2014.

[5]Caplan, Lee. “Delay in Breast cancer: Implications for Stage at Diagnosis and Survival.” NCBI. 2014.

CMN Hospital