A cancer diagnosis raises a wide range of challenges and concerns. Fortunately, there are local and national resources to assist you with many of the issues that come up. This fact sheet describes several kinds of services available to people with cancer and their loved ones, and how to find the help you need.
What Kind of Help Can I Get?
General Information. Many reputable general and diagnosis-specific cancer organizations provide reliable, up-to-date information on treatment options, clinical trials, side-effect management and more.
Emotional Support. Cancer can make you feel lonely, scared or distressed. Counseling, support groups, patient-to-patient networks and other kinds of support are available to help you cope with such emotions.
Financial Help. There are organizations and companies that help people with cancer and their families with medical billing, insurance, and reimbursement issues. There are also co-payment organizations and patient assistance programs that help individuals who cannot afford the cost of medications.
Transportation Assistance. In many communities, transportation services are available to help you.
Housing/Lodging. Some organizations provide lodging for families of a patient undergoing treatment. Joe’s House is an online directory of places to stay near hospitals and treatment centers. Visit www.joeshouse.org for more information.
Children’s Services. There are organizations that provide services for children with cancer or children who have a family member with cancer. These include counseling, summer camps and “make-a-wish” programs.
Home Health Care. Home health care is for people who no longer need to be in the hospital, but still require skilled care at home.
Hospice Services. Hospice care focuses on the needs of individuals who are terminally ill. Visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization website, www.nhpco.org, to find a hospice or palliative care center in your community.
How Do I Find These Resources?
The services you need can be found in your own neighborhood. Here are some ideas:
Your Health Care Team. Doctors, nurses and social workers can provide a wealth of information about your cancer diagnosis and treatment. The libraries at cancer centers are also excellent sources of information. Hospital social workers and discharge planning coordinators are great resources for information about counseling, home care, transportation and child care.
Local/County Government. Local governments often offer low-cost transportation. Government agencies can give you information on Social Security, state disability, Medicaid, income maintenance and food stamps.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC) and CancerCare’s Helping Hand. The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (www.cancerfac.org) has a searchable database of national and regional organizations that provide financial assistance and other services for people with cancer.
Another resource is CancerCare’s A Helping Hand at www.cancercare.org/helpinghand. This is a searchable, online database of financial and practical assistance available for people with cancer. This comprehensive online tool features up-to-date contact information and descriptions for hundreds of national and regional organizations offering financial help to people with cancer.