In doubt about your medical rights? Look to the Cancer Legal Resource Center

This entry was written by two-time, nineteen year survivor Shirley Mertz:

If you look closely at my picture, you will see that I am riding a Merry-Go-Round. 

legal issues, breast cancer, denied claims, legal resource cancer center, CANCER LEGAL RESOURCE CENTER, Cancer Rights Conference

Shirley Mertz attended the Cancer Rights Conference. All cancer patients must and should be aware of their rights.

I think a Merry-Go-Round is a good metaphor for what many breast cancer patients experience while fighting the disease—ups and downs and highs and lows that often go beyond finding the right doctor or right treatment.  Even when we try really hard to concentrate on getting through and beyond treatment, there are often obstacles that stand in our path and that can be difficult to deal with—how to navigate our health insurance when the carrier denies us a claim or service; how to access health care when we don’t have adequate insurance; how to get our employer to make reasonable accommodations in the workplace when we are suffering from side effects of our treatments; or learning about government benefits that we could qualify for if we are no longer able to work. 

 I attended a one-day “Cancer Rights Conference” hosted by the CANCER LEGAL RESOURCE CENTER at the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago.  LIVING BEYOND BREAST CANCER, an organization that I greatly respect and value, partnered with other cancer organizations to host this free conference.      

The mission of the CANCER LEGAL RESOURCE CENTER (CLRC), a national, joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School, is to provide information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and others coping with cancer.  While it should not take legal resources to access health care, understand insurance options, or preserve one’s job, it frequently does.  When information and help is readily and easily accessible, the likelihood of quality outcomes for patient survivorship improves.    

There are six major areas that the experts will answer questions and provide legal guidance for.

  • INSURANCE:  navigating managed care and HMOs, COBRA plans, Major Risk and High Risk Insurance, and Medicaid and Medicare. 
  • HEALTHCARE:  access to healthcare, genetic discrimination, and advance healthcare directives. 
  • EMPLOYMENT:  Americans with Disabilities Act, Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace when you need time to get treatment or recover, State Fair Employment laws, and the Family & Medical Leave Act.
  • FAMILY:  estate planning, life insurance, custody, and guardianship.
  • FINANCES:  disability insurance, credit counseling, and bankruptcy. 

Spending the day at this conference convinced me that CLRC wants to alleviate the stress of those challenging cancer related “legal lows.”  We, then, can devote our energy to getting through our cancer treatment and living beyond our breast cancer diagnosis! 

 The Cancer Legal Resource Center was founded to provide FREE information and resources to the cancer community anywhere in the United States!  Call toll free number: 866 – THE – CLRC (866.843.2572). Experts and lawyers who are dedicated to helping cancer patients and their caregivers in a confidential way will address your inquiry.  CLRC also has an informative website at

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