“Help, I just found out I have breast cancer!”
Finding out you have breast cancer is hard enough. Trying to figure out where to get information or how to get help when you need it added on top of dealing with the realization that you have cancer is often too much. Below are some resources I hope are helpful.
Your doctor is your first resource. Be open about your financial situation. Your doctor often has access to resources you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Courage to Conquer Cancer – Recovery Tees are available here to help you recover more comfortably from a mastectomy or lumpectomy as well as a more comfortable and convenient way to have your blood drawn, chemotherapy, radiation and/or MRI/CAT scans. If you qualify, you might be able to receive a Recovery Tee for free. (See website for more information)
Free, heart-shaped pillow which comes in very handy after a mastectomy are often offered to patients from their nurse navigators or breast surgeon’s office. Ask if this is available to you.
Reid Sleeve – a free bracelet to remind medical providers you cannot have your blood pressure or blood drawn from that arm due to a mastectomy or lymph surgery.
Breast Form Fund – free for underserved women (professional support and information is also available) 413-584-6673
Liberator Fashions – free catalog of mastectomy bras and other lingerie – insurance reimbursement for qualifying customers
Breast Friends – free for women with no to little insurance – emotional, spiritual, and social support to those with any female cancer
Patient Services Inc. – Free MRI or help paying for them for any woman who is a US resident. Online application or call 800-366-7741
The U. S. Government can offer assistance. This site offers several different government agencies as well as some private organizations offering financial assistance.
Susan G. Komen – information about breast cancer, information to help you through your journey, resources offered through the non-profit, advocacy, how to get involved, & available grants.
American Cancer Society – learn about your cancer, how to stay healthy, finding support & treatment, explore research, find your local ACS, & how to get involved.
Chemo Angels – this is a volunteer (some are survivors) who’ll check in on you as you go through chemotherapy or radiation. Your Chemo Angel may be from anywhere and show they care by sending cards, notes, small gifts, and support. Chemo Angels typically adopt you for about a month of your treatment.
Reach for Recovery – a service that provides one-to-one support in person or by phone to help a patient. Volunteers offer understanding, support and hope as they are survivors themselves. They can also provide patients with information about local services that are available to them.
Free Wig – call American Cancer Society for assistance at 1-800-227-2345. Ask for patient services.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure – locate a chapter near you to see if a wig/head covering can be provided
Y-ME – wigs and styling tips for women with limited resources – 800-221-2141
France Luxe – request a silk scarf if you are a breast cancer patient
Breasts Friends Hat Project – free hats to women in treatment for cancer
Caps Against Cancer – free baseball caps for patients who’ve lost their hair due to chemotherapy – PO Box 38731, Charlotte, NC 28278
Hats for Happiness – free hats
Heavenly Hats – free hats to cancer survivors in the USA
Look Good Feel Better – a free resource for women undergoing treatment covering things like Makeup Step-By-Step, New Hair Looks, Nail Care, Styling, Beauty Experts, & Virtual Makeover Tool
“I Can Cope” offered through American Cancer Society – helps address issues like nutrition, finances, emotional well-being and pain management – 800-ACS-2345
The Lydia Project – FREE tote bags with “goodies” inside
Happy Chemo! – this is a site that offers freebies and discounts by location
Check with your local Wellness Centers, Community Centers, and your local American Cancer Society to see if they offer free or reduced costs for exercise classes and support groups.
Many places of worship offer help for cancer patients. Many have housing assistance, utility assistance, food closets, counseling, prayer, spiritual guidance, etc. You don’t normally have to attend to receive assistance.
Breast Cancer Charities – available for breast cancer patients during treatment. A patient must qualify for assistance. Must be submitted by a social worker or nurse. Up to $500 of assistance.
Air Care Alliance (ACA) – provides a list of nonprofit organizations that fly patients nationwide to treatment for free. 1-800-296-1217
National Patient Travel Center Helpline – options to pay airfare as well as ground transportation for trips over 300 miles to get to and from treatment. 1-800-296-1217
Corporate Angel Network, Inc. (CAN) – free airfare for cancer patients who can’t travel without life-support or medical attention.
Road to Recovery – transportation to and from treatment and doctor appointments – FREE – 1-800-ACS-2345
Patient Travel Foundation – long trips and some flights
Free Gas USA – assistance paying for gas to get to treatment, grocery shopping, and other necessary places.
Joe’s House/Hope Lodge – discounted lodging during treatment – 800-ACS-2345
American Cancer Society – discounted lodging at downtown and suburban hotels for cancer patients – 877-824-0660
National Association of Homes & Hospitality – keeps a directory of nonprofits that offer free or significantly discounted lodging to patients during treatment.
Meals on Wheels – free in-home-delivery meals for income-eligible adults/children. Available in most areas. Some programs offer other assistance such as grocery shopping – 703-548-5558
Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund (BMCF) – (for ages 18-40) Provides services to meet daily needs not covered by insurance. Typically $600 of medical co-payments, rent/mortgage, transportation, car insurance, repairs, and groceries.
Cancer Fund of America – help with food, clothes, hygiene, and other products.
United Way – call 211 for the telephone help line – provides information and referrals with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling resources and more.
Cleaning for a Reason – free house cleaning service – 4 monthly cleaners offered in many states – availability is limited so keep applying – 877-337-3348
Cancer Care – financial assistance for cancer patients. Help with insurance premiums for a limited time. Offers a list of resources available in your area. Provides you with a case worker to help you find what you need. – 800-813-HOPE
Cozies for Chemo– request a free tie-blanket to use during treatment
Cancer Card Xchange – cancer patients can request a gift card for restaurants, gas, grocery, etc. – Amounts vary.
Wal-Mart Grocery App – (this actually is a service for everyone) download the app, shop for your groceries online choose a pick-up time (usually the next day), pay online, and when it is time drive (or have someone go for you) to Wal-Mart. Park in a “Pick-up” spot, call the number, someone brings your groceries out, loads them for you in your car, the person picking up signs for the groceries and away you go. (Only in select areas right now though, but it is totally worth looking into) Get $10 off by putting in this code: RRLEROTL
HealthWell Foundation – assistance with medical expenses. Grants range from $2000-$15000. Applicants must have some form of insurance. 1-800-675-8416
Needymeds – one-stop resource to find financial assistance for medications and health care costs
Partnership for Prescription Assistance – helps uninsured and financially struggling patients access healthcare and prescription assistance programs that offer free or discounted medications – 1-888-4PPA-NOW
Research any medication you have to pay for online. Many medications have hugely discounted prescription coupons available online. Some are only good once and others can be used multiple times, but every bit of assistance is helpful.
LEGAL HELP/INSURANCE ADVOCATES:
Cancer Legal Resource Center – free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to cancer survivors, their families, and others dealing with cancer – 866-843-2572
Patient Advocate Foundation – This is not a legal service but will advocate for patients whose insurance companies’ practices are questionable or help find insurance.
Casting for Recovery – offers a weekend retreat for breast cancer patients/survivors to teach them how to fly fish. A great bonding weekend. Everyone can apply but only a limited number of patients are chosen. Offered in a variety of places. (Patient must get to location at their own expense)
Little Pink House of Hope – offers retreats for breast cancer patients to breast cancer patients and their families on specific dates. The retreat is free but transportation to and from the destination is the patient’s responsibility.
First Descents – a free adventure trip (travel to and from is the responsibility of the patient but some assistance is available for this as well) – must apply – offers adventures like whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, surfing, ice climbing – most retreat dates are from May-Sept. except for ice climbing
Camp Mak-A-Dream – Ovarian and Women’s Cancer retreat in Montana for those 18+ in various stages of cancer therapy and survivorship. Activities include zip lining, wall climbing, confidence building with breakout sessions on side effects, yoga, art, life planning. Field trips, bonding with other women, and an opportunity to relax and have fun. Limited spots. Apply online.
***If you are aware of any other services, please let me know so they can be added.