The financial costs associated with cancer are often overwhelming. Even having health insurance doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to afford treatment. It’s best to start researching your options before a financial crisis develops. This fact sheet lists various sources of financial assistance available to people with cancer. Check with each agency or organization to see if you qualify for help.

Government Assistance

There are a number of federal and state programs that provide financial benefits to individuals and families. These benefits, known as entitlements, are primarily set up for low-income households, the elderly, and the disabled. Each entitlement has eligibility requirements. There are also programs administered through state governments that can help with health care related needs. Government assistance programs include:

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Information on public assistance and food stamps

U.S. Administration on Aging
Benefits for older adults
(Eldercare Locator finds resources in your community)

Social Security Administration

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs

Programs and services offered differ among drug manufacturers but may include:
• Help with insurance reimbursement
• Referrals to co-pay relief programs
• Help with the application process
• Discounted or free medications for patients who do not qualify for other assistance

Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA)

To see if the drug company that makes your medication has a patient assistance program, check its website. You can also ask your doctor or check with the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA). PPA has a list of pharmaceutical programs and other resources for financial assistance.

In addition to needing help with managing the cost of medicines and treatment, people with cancer often need assistance with expenses like transportation, homecare and child care. A number of nonprofit organizations have useful programs or referral information to help with these and other practical needs.

Cancer Organizations


American Cancer Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Lymphoma Research Foundation

Be the Match (National Marrow Donor Program)

Patient Advocate Foundation’s Colorectal Careline

Sarcoma Alliance

General Organizations

United Way

Community Organizations
To find local resources, check to see if there is a 211 information and referral service ( in your area.

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This activity is supported by a grant from Genentech, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Takeda Oncology.

Last updated February 08, 2017

The information presented in this publication is provided for your general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with qualified health professionals who are aware of your specific situation. We encourage you to take information and questions back to your individual health care provider as a way of creating a dialogue and partnership about your cancer and your treatment.

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