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PSSGuide_2021
Financial SupportIssue Introductions

Introduction: Get Help Paying for Your Cancer Treatment

This Fifth Annual Guide is provided to you by CONQUER magazine, to help you and your providers, especially your nurse navigator, become more aware of the many financial support services that may be able to help you to receive the best treatment you need and relieve you of the associated financial worries.
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Co-Founder, Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators® (AONN+)
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship®
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer
Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Co-Developer, Work Stride: Managing Cancer at Work
Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions
Breast cancer survivor

Patients with cancer and their family members are well-aware of the high cost of cancer treatments, even for those who have health insurance. Many patients find themselves in serious difficulties trying to pay for their different therapies, adding significant anxiety to an already very stressful situation.

What many patients (and their doctors) don’t know is that financial assistance is available to them, whether they have health insurance or not. Help is available directly from the pharmaceutical company of the medication you are being prescribed, or from nonprofit foundations and other advocacy organizations whose mission is to help patients with cancer be able to get the treatment they need.

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is hard enough, so if you or your loved one need help paying for treatment, the cost of travel to the doctor’s office, or the hotel stay during treatment, this updated, 2021 Patient Guide to Cancer Support Services will provide important information to help you find the financial assistance available to you right now.

In recognition of how expensive cancer drugs can be today, pharmaceutical companies offer financial assistance programs for each of their cancer drugs, to allow patients to get their drugs for free or at a significant savings. When you search this Guide, you may be surprised to see how many companies do this.

If you have no health insurance, you may be eligible to receive the medications for free. If you do have some insurance coverage, the pharmaceutical company will usually pay your copay, co-insurance, or deductible, so your monthly cost is often $0 or $5. In addition, many nonprofit organizations offer financial help. Some will also pay for other expenses related to your treatment, such as travel to a cancer clinic or hospital or hotel stays during treatment.

This Guide is organized by cancer type, listing the drugs prescribed for each type of cancer, so you could go directly to the section that is relevant to you to see what type of financial assistance is available for each treatment.

Look for the drug, or drugs, you are using to find out what financial assistance is available and how to contact the relevant programs so they could help you pay for your medications. Your doctor will often have to fill out some forms as well, so don’t hesitate to ask for help with these forms.

Many cancer centers and clinics today have designated financial counselors and nurse navigators who can help you with finding the right program for you and also filling out the necessary paperwork needed. However, other cancer centers do not have all the up-to-date information needed to apply for the financial assistance.

Become familiar with this Guide so you can get the treatment you need to achieve the best result possible. If you are not sure how to use this information, ask your navigator or doctor for help. Take this Guide with you to your next appointment and ask for help in applying for financial assistance.

We created this Guide to remove one barrier to care—a financial barrier—so that you can get the treatments you need with one less thing to worry about.

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Last modified: February 23, 2021

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