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 early in the process. 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, older adults 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.


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


Social Security Administration


Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs

Programs and services 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

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 use the Medicine Assistance Tool, which has a list of pharmaceutical programs and other resources for financial assistance. Needy Meds can also help with costs.

Medicine Assistance Tool

Needy Meds


Nonprofit Programs for Co-Pay Relief

A number of nonprofit organizations provide help for expenses such as drug co payments, deductibles and other medical costs. These programs have their own eligibility rules and may cover only certain cancers. Contact each organization to learn more.

CancerCare® Co-Payment Assistance Foundation

866-55-COPAY (26729)

Good Days


HealthWell Foundation


The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Co-Pay Assistance Program


National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

800-999-6673 203-744-0100

Patient Access Network Foundation


Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program


Cancer Organizations


800-813-HOPE (4673)

American Cancer Society


Be the Match (National Marrow Donor Program)


The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


Lymphoma Research Foundation


Patient Advocate Foundation’s Colorectal CareLine


Sarcoma Alliance


Susan G. Komen Foundation


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.

Edited by Victoria Puzo, LCSW

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This fact sheet is supported by Bristol Myers Squibb and a grant from Genentech.

Last updated February 14, 2022

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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