Local and national organizations are there to help you with your cancer concerns. This fact sheet describes many 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 general and diagnosis-specific cancer organizations provide reliable, up-to-date information on treatment options, clinical trials, managing side effects and more.
Emotional Support. You may feel lonely, scared or stressed when dealing with cancer. Caregivers can also feel strong emotions. Counseling, support groups, peer networks and other kinds of support are available to help you cope with such emotions.
Financial Help. Co-payment organizations and patient assistance programs help with the cost of medications. Other organizations help with general expenses related to cancer such as transportation, child care and home care.
Transportation Assistance. In many communities, transportation services are available to help you. One is your local United Way, who can help find what programs are available in your area (www.unitedway.org).
Housing and Lodging. Free or cheaper lodging is sometimes available for families of patients being treated for cancer. Joe’s House is an online directory of places to stay near hospitals and treatment centers (www.joeshouse.org). Airbnb also has information regarding their open home temporary stay program (www.airbnb.com/openhomes).
Children’s Services. Some organizations provide services for children with cancer or children who have a family member with cancer. These include financial assistance, 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 (nhpco.org) to find a hospice or palliative care center in your community.
How Do I Find These Resources?
The services you need can often be found in your own neighborhood. Here are some ideas:
Your Health Care Team. Doctors, nurses and social workers can provide information about your cancer diagnosis and treatment. Cancer centers are also excellent sources of information. Hospital social workers and discharge coordinators are great resources for information about counseling, home care, transportation and child care.
Local and 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.
CancerCare and CancerCare’s A Helping Hand. CancerCare’s oncology social workers are licensed professionals who counsel people affected by cancer. They can help people navigate resources based on individual needs. To learn more, visit www.cancercare.org or call 800-813-HOPE (4673).
We also provide our Helping Hand (www.cancercare.org/helpinghand), a searchable, online database of financial and practical assistance. This online tool features up-to-date contact information and descriptions for hundreds of national and regional organizations offering help to people with cancer.
Edited by Melisa Celikoyar, LCSWW