Health-care consulting for families facing a cancer diagnosis - Part 4

Cancer Champions offers compassionate guidance and clarity to you and your loved ones throughout your cancer journey.

As your trusted guide, we empower you and your family with knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions about your cancer care and regain your peace of mind.
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With Cancer Champions,
You Don’t Have to Face Cancer Alone

If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed and anxious by a cancer diagnosis, compassionate support is available. Cancer Champions can ease your fear and uncertainty by helping you and your loved ones understand your specific disease, collect personalized healthcare information, evaluate your treatment options, and make informed decisions. 

Combining oncology knowledge with genuine compassion makes Cancer Champions a trusted advisor that complements your cancer care team and provides peace of mind throughout your cancer journey. Call Dana to learn more about how she can help to create a personalized roadmap to guide you and your family.


When you are presented with a difficult diagnosis, most likely you don’t know what you don’t know yet. Because I have professional healthcare experience and have personally been through several cancer journeys, I compassionately work with you to create a personalized roadmap to help you and your family navigate the journey. I also provide resources and informationto to help you take the first steps.


When you are making critical decisions — you need access to the most relevant information, tailored to your unique situation. With both professional and personal experience researching treatment options and supportive care solutions for individuals facing cancer, I am uniquely qualified to offer families the types of information and resources they will need to make better informed decisions about their care.


Upon hearing a cancer diagnosis, emotions often take control and inhibit decision making. Anxiety and fear may stifle important conversations that family members and loved ones need to have with the individual fighting cancer. I can help to facilitate these important but difficult conversations, with compassion and a kind and open heart.

From our inbox:

When my father was diagnosed with cancer I was in shock — and living 600 miles away. I knew he had been dealing with prostate cancer several years earlier, but I had no idea his cancer had returned and was so advanced.  

Dana was a true blessing. She went to see my father and assessed the situation quickly. Her knowledge of cancer was critical. She listened to the doctors and asked the right questions. She was far better equipped than us to discern what the doctors were saying — and counsel us appropriately. She monitored my father during his stay in the hospital and helped us navigate the transition to hospice. Dana was compassionate and a true professional all the way through to the end.

The nicest thing about working with Dana is her compassion. She has experienced the loss of her own parent to cancer and knows the confusion, uncertainty, and heartbreak involved. She is able to professionally communicate with the medical staff and gather the correct information — and translate it to us in an understandable way. Dana cried with us, prayed with us and was not afraid to be honest. I respected that.

— L.P., Atlanta, Ga

From our inbox:

As someone diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer just 5 months ago, I was overwhelmed and confused. I wasn’t sure whether my doctors were doing what I needed. I asked Dana to review my case and it was the best thing I’ve done since diagnosis. I’m so grateful I made the decision to work with Dana. For a very reasonable fee, she actually did more than expected. She is smart, organized, prompt, and compassionate. I am now much more confident regarding treatment options and what my doctors should be doing. My head has stopped spinning and I can sleep at night. Worth every penny.

— Lori R

From our inbox:

“It’s difficult to express in words the importance of an advocate when faced with a life-changing scenario like cancer. Dana was amazing, providing incredible counsel and guidance that was critical in the early days of our diagnosis. I could not imagine going through this again without the caring, loving expertise that Dana Hutson brought to our family. She is an angel.”


From our inbox:

“5 stars is just not enough for Dana Hutson. Dana has been a godsend to our family.  We lost my elderly father with Dementia after a cascade of events resulting from an ER visit.   My family has been struggling to bring closure to this situation.

I met Dana after a presentation she gave . During the presentation she gave an example that exactly described the experience we had at the hospital with my father. We hired Dana to go back and research the entire 30 day hospital experience and assist us in understanding what happened. Dana spent numerous hours reviewing hundreds of pages of notes from 4 different hospitals.

Our experience is far too common across the country. Unfortunately, we didn’t meet Dana until after my father’s death. If we had had Dana’s guidance, our family’s  outcome may have been radically different. I highly recommend seeking Dana’s assistance in advocating and supporting you during any type of medical situation. We will forever be grateful to Dana for bringing closure to our family.”


From our inbox:

“Money can’t pay you back for the wisdom you provided my family.”

From our inbox:

“You have been an angel that came into our lives…we could not be on this journey without you…”

From our inbox:

” working with Dana has been an absolute blessing for my family. She was able to quickly assess my mom’s situation and immediately offer solutions that made a difference. Her knowledge and tireless legwork is a gamechanger for families trying to negotiate the healthcare system.”


7 Questions to Ask Your Oncologist

It’s helpful to have a list of questions to ask your doctor when you are presented with a cancer diagnosis. Here are 7 questions to ask at your next doctor’s appointment.

Recent articles

Do I need Cancer Insurance?

Do I need Cancer Insurance?

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of receiving a cancer diagnosis. Such a diagnosis strikes fear, shock, and a sense of helplessness in the hearts and minds of everyone affected. In 2016 there were over 1 million new cancer diagnoses.

Fortunately, due to advancements in science and medicine, a cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. In fact today there are an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the US and that number is projected to increase to 20 million in 2026.

However, the advances in medicine and technology have not come without a cost and many find it difficult to keep up with treatment costs despite having medical insurance.

Within the last decade, insurance companies have taken note of the rising costs of cancer care and many offer a supplemental insurance plan that provides additional coverage to your regular plan. This new type of cancer insurance is not meant to replace your current medical coverage, but to enhance it by covering many of cancer related expenses not currently covered by basic medical insurance.

What Cancer-specific Insurance Usually Covers

  • Co-pays
  • Deductibles
  • Hospital stays (especially lengthy ones)
  • Visits to out-of-network specialists
  • Various tests, treatments, and procedures
  • Childcare
  • Dietary assistance
  • Travel and lodging when treatment is far away from home

It is important to double check with the individual insurance company about what is actually covered as this list is not comprehensive to all policies.

How do you know if you should invest in Cancer Insurance?

Companies like QuoteWizard have made it easier to explore your insurance options and suggest you begin by asking yourself the following questions.

If you or one of your family members were diagnosed with cancer, would your current insurance policy cover all the costs? Would your family be able to pay the out of pocket expenses associated with treatment obtained from out-of-network specialists or for therapies that are not network accessible?

Are the extra monthly premium costs associated with a supplemental cancer insurance plan worth the peace of mind it provides? Do the benefits of such a plan outweigh the additional monthly costs? When should I invest in a cancer insurance plan?

Like all insurance, it is impossible to obtain coverage after the fact. That is why QuoteWizard recommends exploring your options before a diagnosis.

To help you in making a decision if a supplemental policy may be right for you please read further.

Is this type of insurance designed to replace my existing medical insurance?

No, supplemental cancer insurance does not replace your health insurance. Cancer insurance augments your health care plan, not replace it.

Health History

Have you been diagnosed with cancer in the past? A previous diagnosis is considered a pre-existing condition and may hinder your ability to obtain cancer specific supplemental insurance.  Many of the companies also implore an age threshold. Each company is different.

Family History

Family history and genes both play a role, however, an absence of cancer in your family history does not guarantee you won’t be affected by cancer due to an environmental cause.

Which Insurance Companies Offer Cancer-Specific Insurance?

QuoteWizard’s picks for best companies providing cancer insurance.

  • Aflac
  • Cigna
  • Colonial Life
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Physicians Mutual
  • MetLife
  • Combined
  • United Healthcare
  • All State
  • American Fidelity

What Will Cancer Insurance Cover?

While coverage amounts vary, most cancer policies pay for the following:

  • Surgery
  • Blood transfusions
  • Prescription drugs
  • Ambulance Rides
  • X-rays
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Nursing
  • Doctors’ visits
  • Hospital Stays

If you would like further information on cancer insurance such as how much coverage you need, cancer insurance limitations, costs and other important questions, please download a comprehensive cancer insurance guide here.


September is awareness month for childhood cancer & a few more, how are we doing?

This September we highlight some of the scientific advances that have lead to new treatments for many of the cancers listed below:

  • Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
  • Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month
  • National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
  • Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

Breakthroughs in Childhood Cancer

New technology in immunotherapy has led to a novel approach to the treatment of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Chimeric-antigen-receptor T-cell therapy or CAR-T therapy has proven very promising and researchers are encouraged, as plans develop to investigate this new technology in solid tumors.

Learn more about CAR-T therapy

Advances in Leukemia & Lymphoma

Researchers have identified specific genes or proteins associated with cancer cells in chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma and waldenström’s macroglobulinemia that have led to targeted therapies such as BTK and BCL-2 inhibitors. These targeted therapies have resulted in promising advances in certain leukemias and lymphomas.

Learn more about BTK inhibitors

Learn more about BCL-2

New alternatives for Ovarian Cancer

Targeted therapy in ovarian cancer is rapidly expanding and currently, there are 3 FDA approved PARP inhibitors.

Learn about PARP inhibitors

Immunotherapy Trial for Prostate Cancer

Based on scientific findings in prostate cancer a new approach to treatment has been developed and will be studied in a clinical trial combining two immunotherapy drugs that target separate brakes on the immune system. The clinical trial for stage IV prostate cancer will enroll 90 patients at 9 centers nationally.

Learn more about clinical trial

So this September we are encouraged by the scientific advances that have led to a variety of new treatment options and are hopeful that in the year ahead many more milestones will be met as the dedicated men and women in the field of cancer research and development strive for cures. This September we recognize their efforts.

If you or someone you know is facing a difficult diagnosis and would like some help making sense of all the information you are receiving so that you are able to make confident decisions please contact me or call 703-403-7600.   I’m here to help.

What is Palliative Care? Should you consider it?

Palliative Care does not equal hospice.

The objective of both is to provide pain and symptom relief, however, there are important differences.

Hospice care is provided without curative intent.   Either there are no longer curative options available or the decision has been made to no longer pursue treatment because the side effects outweigh the anticipated benefit of the treatment.

Palliative care may be provided with or without curative intent.

Who is eligible for palliative care?

Cancer is a serious illness that touches all areas of a patient’s life as well as the lives of his/her loved ones. People with serious illnesses, like cancer, are eligible for palliative care.

Some of the physical effects of cancer on the individual include:

  • Pain
  • Loss of appetite, nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Neuropathy

Some of the ways family and loved ones are affected include:

  • Role reversals
  • Shifting needs of family members
  • Upset of balance of everyday responsibilities
  • Financial burdens

Palliative care treats the emotional , social, practical and spiritual issues brought on by a cancer diagnosis.

Who provides palliative care?

Palliative care became a defined specialty in 2006. Although a relatively new specialty, most large hospitals have palliative care teams.   The palliative care team is made up of physicians, nurses, dietician, social workers, and psychologists, occupational therapists and chaplains.

Palliative care may be offered by hospitals, home health agencies, cancer centers and long-term care facilities. There may be a palliative care specialist in your oncologist’s practice. If not they will be able to refer you to a palliative care specialist near you.

How can palliative care help me?

Palliative care does not treat  your cancer; however, it does relieve the physical, emotional and psychosocial symptoms associated with the disease. Because every individual experiences cancer differently, your unique circumstance, personality and support system all play into how palliative care may help you .

Palliative care can provide relief in the following areas:

Coping and emotional stress, by addressing the anxiety, fear and depression that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis.

Physical pain, fatigue and loss of appetite are some of the symptoms experienced by patients that can be relieved with palliative care.

The practical concerns of families and caregivers, such as financial pressures, employment questions and transportation issues are examples of what a member of the palliative care team could assist you with.

Spiritual issues often come to the forefront when facing a life threatening illness and palliative care can help guide you through questions of faith.

Research has proven that palliative care is effective in improving the quality of life of cancer patients. When your symptoms are controlled and your practical needs are being met you feel better and live better.

If you would like more information on how to locate a palliative care specialist to support you during your treatment please call Dana at 703-403-7600 for assistance

Schedule a get-acquainted call 

The first step is a free 15-minute get-acquainted call to see how I can help. The next step is to schedule our first 90 minute consultation  , where I will personalize a roadmap for you and your family, and determine next steps.