"Chiara D’Agostino’s life journey is not a usual cancer-surviving story. For an aspiring fashion model and traveler, the news of her medical condition was supposed to put a full stop to her dreams...."Read More
"I didn't decide to go flat at first; I wanted to look symmetrical. But then had six additional surgeries just for the implants because they got infected every other month. I feel better now without the implants. And I can feel people when I hug them."Read More
Shedding my hair a second time, I knew what to expect physically, and this time, two years after my initial diagnosis, I am different emotionally. I told a friend that to avoid the trauma of watching my hair fall out from chemotherapy, I would get my head shaved; he suggested I donate my hair so that someone else could make a wig out of it. An appealing idea, I wondered if anyone had thought of creating wigs from one’s own hair – I wanted to wear a wig made out of MY OWN HAIR. During my two years as a cancer student, I hadn’t come across personalized wigs – just yet. Later that week, I serendipitously found myself at the Mo’Hair Foundation Fundraising Gala....Read More
“I’m the flat woman,” says Chiara, a breast cancer survivor and author of Beauty Through the Beast, a blog about fighting cancer with beauty in mind. “To me, this photo exudes freedom. It illustrates the fact that we have choices and beauty has no boundaries. For example, some may choose reconstruction with beautiful tattoos, while others may not choose reconstruction at all and remain bare.”Read More
Serendipitously, SmartBridge found ME through my breast cancer blog and I jumped at the opportunity to receive an expert second opinion. Dr. Jeremy Force from Duke University called me that afternoon to introduce himself and learn my questions –Read More
What will happen to Obamacare? Chiara D'Agostino is waiting to learn how effective her recent experimental immunotherapy treatment has been and she is waiting...Read More
Chiara D’Agostino shares her story about clinical trials and ACA, "I was diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative breast cancer in October 2014. Two years later to the day I started treatment for triple negative metastatic breast cancer...."Read More
Metastatic breast cancer survivor and patient advocate Chiara D’Agostino of Montclair, New Jersey, credited the ACA with saving her life. D’Agostino said she was approved for ACA coverage in September 2014. In October 2014, she felt a lump in her breast that led to a stage III and eventually stage IV breast cancer diagnosis.Read More
Chiara D’Agostino had a feeling she would benefit from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A former Italian teacher, she had given up her full-time job to pursue a graduate degree.Read More
Dopo il tumore in passerella in lingerie sexy. «Che io abbia seni e capezzoli o no, sono una donna», ha spiegato alla BBC la modella blogger Chiara D'Agostino che ha partecipato alla sfilata.Read More
WASHINGTON -- With continuing attempts in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a panel of experts and patient advocates at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting here discussed how changes would affect cancer patients and survivors.
"I don't know if I'd be alive today without coverage under the Affordable Care Act," said Chiara D'Agostino, a 45-year-old from Montclair, N.J., with triple negative, stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She said she could not have afforded medical insurance without the ACA.
"And I'm incredibly anxious that my healthcare insurance can be pulled out from under me."
She was joined on the panel by three-time breast cancer survivor Diana Chingos of Los Angeles, who related how she could not switch health plans prior to the ACA, as well as moderator Gilbert S. Omenn, MD, PhD, of University of Michigan, and Ernest Hawk, MD, MPH, of University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Omenn, Harold T. Shapiro Distinguished University Professor of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, and Public Health at the University of Michigan, and director of the UM Center for Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics, formerly served as EVP for Medical Affairs and CEO of the University of Michigan Health System.
He noted that access to comprehensive health insurance is vital for all Americans, especially the 1.7 million who were diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and the estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States today.
According to Omenn, the key ACA provisions benefiting cancer patients and survivors are:
- Required coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. More than a quarter of adult Americans younger than 65 have pre-existing conditions that would have made them uninsurable for individual market coverage without ACA
- The prohibition of annual and lifetime coverage caps. Before ACA, 105 million Americans had insurance policies that imposed lifetime limits
- Coverage of prevention, treatment, and survivorship services
- Expansion of Medicaid. There are currently more people covered by Medicaid than Medicare
- Coverage of dependents through age 26
Other current ACA benefits include:
- Coverage of clinical trials and related costs
- Coverage of certain cancer drugs that were previously considered deniable
- Services for the growing number of cancer survivors, such as periodic check-ups since this population accounts for 22% of subsequent cancer diagnoses
- Expansion of the number of people eligible for Medicaid as well as is federal funding
Omenn acknowledged that, in the wake of failed efforts thus far to craft legislation that can pass Congress, the precise shape of future changes remains uncertain.
"About 3% of healthcare spending in the U.S. is for prevention and public health, and 75% of healthcare costs are related to preventable conditions," said Hawk, noting that one-third to one-half of cancer deaths are preventable in western populations, and that the ACA has provisions for covering clinical preventive services.
Repeal of the ACA would cost the CDC $5 billion or 12% of its annual budget, and states would lose more than $3 billion in public health funding over 5 years, he said.
"The Affordable Care Act elevated prevention as a national priority and provided access to clinical preventive services," Hawk said, adding that it also strengthened the role of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) by increasing its authority.
Chingos, a 23-year breast cancer survivor, said that when she left the corporate world to freelance years ago, she hadn't expected to be diagnosed with cancer at age 30.
"I found that I was married to my health insurance policy," she said, since she couldn't switch coverage because of her pre-existing condition.
"I became an insurance pariah, I had a high deductible, annual caps on my out-of-pocket costs, and was paying $100 for each of my anti-nausea (Zofran) pills," she related.
Chingos said that under managed care prior to the ACA, she lost many doctors who could not afford to take her insurance. To her, she said, "Repeal and replace are words that are not compatible with a cancer diagnosis."
by Eric T. Rosenthal
Special Correspondent, MedPage Today
Hours before Sephora opens its doors to the public, the beauty emporium is already bustling. Inside, “cast members” (Sephora-speak for sales associates) are mingling with nearly a dozen women whose skin care and makeup concerns run much deeper than demystifying the secrets to con-and-nontouring. These participants are among the first to attend Sephora’s brand new Brave Beauty in the Face of Cancer class, which launches nationwide this week.
This unique endeavor is met with a rousing — and emotional — response from its participants, among them, 45-year-old New Jersey native Chiara, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2014.Read More
When Montclair resident Chiara D’Agostino sat down for her first appointment in Dr. Jan Huston’s office at then-Mountainside Hospital in October 2014, she expected the usual doctor in the white lab coat to walk in. Instead, in came Huston, wearing a “cute leather jacket,” D’Agostino recalled.Read More
Chiara D'Agostino has been frank about her experiences as a cancer patient since she was diagnosed in 2014. In the latest chapter of her often harrowing saga, she is participating in an immunotherapy trial trial at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.Read More
Chiara D'Agostino | Blogger, Model
Reconstruction to Explant - Bilateral Flat, stage IV metastatic triple negative breast cancer
"I felt very comfortable in my skin before I had a mastectomy; my hair was the length and color I longed for, I was eating healthy and I was working out five times a week – I loved my body and felt sexy. Then I got cancer and had a single mastectomy – when I looked at my reflection in the mirror I fell to the ground and cried for a while, devastated by my mangled body. Six months later my other breast was removed and I had reconstructive breast surgery. I was convinced I needed round mounds protruding from my chest to feel feminine, but I hated the look and feel of my implants. Those gummy bears caused several infections and further complications and only after I had them both removed do I finally feel comfortable in my body again. I miss my girls, but now that the silicone is off my chest, I feel less invaded and like my natural self again.
When diagnosed with stage III triple negative breast cancer in 2014 I became very depressed and anxious; antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication made a big difference. While NED, I was off the meds, but when the cancer spread, I immediately started taking them again. I still experience bouts of depression and when I do, I’ll journal, connect with friends, share in support groups, meditate, walk in nature, play with children, help someone, pray and/or treat myself to a pedicure/movie/meal. If I can afford it, I’ll spring for Reiki, energy healing or Read
Chiara D’Agostino, another breast cancer activist, shared her story with NBCC: “When I finished a Master’s Degree program in Italy and returned to the U.S. in August 2014, I had no job or insurance....Read More
Because of the law’s provision for expanded Medicaid eligibility, I’ve been able to get the care I need to fight breast cancer for the past two years....Read More