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Texas Tech Health El Paso and Circle K Partner to Support Cancer Warriors and Front-Line Heroes

Announcement made in honor of World Cancer Day in February.


EL PASO, TEXAS — Texas Tech Health El Paso proudly announced a partnership with Circle K that will positively impact the lives of cancer warriors in our community. The partnership with one of the world’s most widely recognized convenience store brands will also assist our medical residents, students and staff who work on or support the front lines of health care in our Borderplex region.



Concerns about managing the expenses associated with cancer treatment and day-to-day living weigh heavily on individuals diagnosed with cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 75% of people battling cancer have financial worries about the costs of treatment and prescriptions as well as day-to-day expenses.


As part of their commitment to community well-being, Circle K has generously contributed an initial $2,500 worth of $25 Circle K gift cards to Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso’s Breast Care Center.


The gift cards will be given to breast cancer warriors to assist with their basic needs, including gas for transportation to appointments, helping to ease the financial burdens associated with their course of treatment. Circle K plans to continue providing this valuable assistance, ensuring ongoing support for those facing the challenges of cancer.


"The communities Circle K serves are made up of more than just customers – they're our neighbors, friends and families," said Victor Salas, regional operations director of Circle K - Southwest Division. "We're proud to partner with Texas Tech Health El Paso knowing that the fight against cancer is about making a difference right here in our Borderplex community. We believe in putting our resources behind local organizations who are leading change in patient care and are excited for the opportunity to positively impact lives in this region."


Alonso Andrade, M.D., interim director of the Breast Care Center, said assistance with basic needs positively impacts a patient's course of treatment.


“When talking about cancer care there are so many aspects that can affect a patient's outcome, and as physicians we have to ask ourselves if our patients’ basic needs are being met,” Dr. Andrade said. “This is something that unfortunately happens all too often as we’re focused on coordinating patient care visits with primary care providers and specialists including radiologists, medical oncologists, surgeons and radiation oncologists, physical therapists and behavioral health specialists. In ensuring the medical aspect of a patient's treatment is addressed, one can overlook the socioeconomic stressors of a cancer diagnosis.”


Studies show that financial stressors in cancer patients can have negative effects in treatment

outcomes.


“Financial stressors, indirect and psychological impacts are all associated with decreased health-related quality,” Dr. Andrade said. “Patients whose basic needs are unmet have worse emotional, physical, and social function and well-being along with increased anxiety, depression and worry. Addressing a patient's basic needs can go a long way in decreasing these negative stressors that all too often accompany a cancer diagnosis and ultimately result in improved outcomes.”


A 2023 study of patients with cancer at four New York City safety net cancer clinics looked at interventions to address food insecurity, including a clinic-based food pantry, food voucher plus pantry, and a home grocery delivery plus pantry interventions.


"All of these interventions demonstrated an improvement among patients in need,” Dr. Andrade said. "In addition, depression symptoms and quality of life scores also improved. These gift cards will help our patients with things such as basic food needs and gas for commuting to their appointments. We're very grateful for Circle K and the impact their gift will have on our patients."


Breast cancer is a growing problem, not just in El Paso but nationwide.


"Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the U.S.,” Dr. Andrade said.“It is also the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women. El Paso's Hispanic majority population makes this a disease of particular relevance to our community. According to data from the CDC, there were close to 20,000 new breast cancer cases per year in Texas, of which roughly 20% were new breast cancer cases in Hispanic women."


Recognizing the tireless efforts of our medical residents, students and staff who served on the front lines through the COVID-19 pandemic, Circle K has further extended their support by donating 500 fuel discount cards. The cards will be distributed to our Texas Tech Health El Paso health care heroes, helping alleviate their transportation costs. Offering 10 cents off per gallon and usable every day for up to 20 gallons, the cards are valid until May 31, 2024.




Texas Tech Health El Paso's students and staff have been a cornerstone of health care in our Borderplex for decades. Their dedication and resilience have played a crucial role in maintaining the well-being of our community during challenging times, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic.


Circle K, a company deeply rooted in El Paso, has a philanthropic history spanning over 60 years. The Rocky Mountains division, with a geographical reach extending from the El Paso area through New Mexico and Colorado, is committed to ensuring their support remains local, directly benefiting people in our community.


Texas Tech Health El Paso and Circle K are poised to create lasting positive change in the lives of cancer warriors and frontline health care heroes. Together, we look forward to building a healthier and more resilient community.


 

ABOUT TEXAS TECH HEALTH EL PASO

Texas Tech Health El Paso is the only health sciences center on the U.S.-Mexico border and serves 108 counties in West Texas that have been historically underserved. It’s a designated Title V Hispanic-Serving Institution, preparing the next generation of health care heroes, 48% of whom identify as Hispanic and are often first-generation students.


Established as an independent university in 2013, Texas Tech Health El Paso is a proudly diverse and uniquely innovative destination for education and research.


With a mission of eliminating health care barriers and creating life-changing educational opportunities for Borderplex residents, Texas Tech Health El Paso has graduated over 2,400 doctors, nurses and researchers over the past decade, and will add dentists to its alumni beginning in 2025. For more information, visit ttuhscepimpact.org.


 

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