Tom Brokaw’s New York Times op-ed on living with cancer

Re “Tom Brokaw: Learning to Live with Cancer” (Sunday Review, Oct 2):

For anyone familiar with Mr. Brokaw’s storied career as a newsman, his celebrity status is approachable and genuine in a way that makes him an especially endearing figure. As with reading his op-ed, I was touched by his heartfelt reflections on battling cancer during a keynote he gave at an event last month for a patient assistance charity of which I serve as executive director.

Then as now, two points strike me that require greater reflection.

First, although we often tell ourselves chronic illness cannot happen to me, in reality, seven out of 10 people in the U.S. will succumb to one or more chronic diseases or complications thereof.

Second, these conditions occur regardless of an individual’s socioeconomic background. As we age, we are all prone to certain diseases. While Mr. Brokaw was fortunate enough to afford the high-premiums, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses that provided him a path to wellness, nearly 30 percent of Americans with good insurance are unable to afford their treatments.

We must continue to advocate for all patients, or else we are all losing.

Clorinda Walley is executive director of Good Days, a national patient assistance charity

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