Essentia Health in Fargo gets $30K grant to give rides to area cancer patients

The economic burden of cancer is more profound in survivors who are younger or were diagnosed in childhood, underinsured or uninsured and have lower incomes. 

(Tribune File Photo)

FARGO — The Essentia Health-Fargo Foundation  is honored to receive a $30,000 transportation grant from the American Cancer Society to help alleviate the financial burden of getting to and from cancer treatment.

This grant is one of 380 transportation grants totaling $6.2 million awarded to health systems nationwide. The funding will allow health systems to provide eligible patients an estimated 577,350 rides.

“We are all feeling the impact of rising prices in our everyday life, but when you are facing cancer treatment these issues can feel overwhelming,” said Sue Omdalen, Essentia Health-Fargo Foundation director. “Thanks to the ACS, we are able to provide our patients these extremely valuable transportation dollars to support them during a challenging time.”

The Essentia Health-Fargo Foundation was established in 2010 to improve the lives of our patients and families. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting people through their journey to a healthy life and ensuring health care remains local and accessible to everyone who needs it.

Why transportation funding is needed


Lack of transportation to treatment prevents many people living with cancer from getting high-quality care, which worsens cancer outcomes.

  • In a study presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Quality Care Symposium, ACS researchers found that 2.8% of cancer survivors reported delays in care due to transportation barriers. Cancer survivors who delayed care due to lack of transportation were more likely to use the emergency room and had the highest risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality.
  • According to the ACS’  Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts & Figures 2022-2024 , cancer survivors experience greater financial hardship than the general population for many reasons, including the inability to work. They also have higher out-of-pocket medical costs compared to people without a history of cancer. The economic burden of cancer is more profound in survivors who are younger or were diagnosed in childhood, underinsured or uninsured and have lower incomes. 

“Not having access to high-quality cancer treatment due to where you live contributes to the disparities we see in cancer outcomes,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, chief patient officer for the ACS. “It’s important to provide the funding and programming needed to keep a lack of transportation from impacting survival. The local health systems we partner with across the country use this funding to deliver assistance directly to the patients who need it most.”

Essentia offers comprehensive cancer care services at four cancer centers located in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Located at the Essentia Health-South University Clinic , the Fargo Cancer Center is accredited as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program from the Commission on Cancer. It's also accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.

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