Karmanos Cancer Institute and Network awarded transportation grant from the American Cancer Society to remove barriers for cancer patients receiving treatment

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently awarded the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute a $15,000 grant to help alleviate the financial burden of transportation costs for cancer patients in Detroit and throughout the Karmanos Cancer Network, which reaches patients in 46-counties throughout Michigan. The grant will enable Karmanos Cancer Institute to assist more than 750 cancer patients with more than 1,500 rides to treatment in 2021.

For cancer patients, lack of transportation creates a significant barrier to receiving lifesaving treatment and is known to contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes. The ACS grant is part of a $2 million national transportation investment provided to health systems across the country.

Each year, the ACS typically serves nearly 6,000 cancer patients with transportation assistance through the existing transportation grants program. During 2020, the program provided more than 71,000 rides but a gap remains in many communities for cancer patients for whom transportation is a challenge.

“ACS patient support services—such as these transportation grants—fill critical cancer gaps and are aligned to the ACS goal of improving lives of patients and their families,” said Kathy Goss, Ph.D., regional vice president of Cancer Control at the American Cancer Society. “The newly awarded grant funding provides a boost of support to help address currently unmet needs in Michigan.”

“At Karmanos, we are committed to providing our patients with the care and resources they need during cancer treatment. Our care team members and treatments are among the best in the world but none of that matters if our patients can’t reach us,” said Lauren Lawrence, vice president, Karmanos Cancer Network. “The ACS Transportation Grant allows us to alleviate the burden of travel and increase access to the patients who need it.”

Transportation is the third most-commonly cited barrier to accessing health services for older adults. Every year, 3.6 million people in the United States do not obtain medical care due to transportation issues. Transportation issues include lack of vehicle access, inadequate infrastructure, long distances and lengthy times to reach needed services, transportation costs and adverse policies that affect travel.