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Introduction to Financial Support for People with Cancer

Sharon S. Gentry, MSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, AOCN, CBCN

Editor-in-Chief, Conquer: the journey informed

Dealing with a diagnosis of cancer is enormously stressful for patients and their loved ones. The cost of lifesaving therapies can be crushing, and patients often find themselves in what is recognized as financial distress. This distress relates to the challenges of the costs of cancer care that can affect a person’s treatment and well-being. It can start at diagnosis and continue after cancer treatment ends.

Financial problems can come from not having health insurance or having a lot of costs for care that is not covered by health insurance. To address this distress, assistance may come from discounts on cancer drugs from pharmaceutical companies. Many nonprofit foundations and advocacy organizations also aid patients with cancer in varying ways, such as with help to pay for the direct costs of treatment or help with indirect costs of care like the expense of travel to the doctor’s office or the hotel stay during treatment. Financial advocacy or staff dedicated to addressing one’s financial health throughout the cancer care continuum may be available at cancer treatment centers.

A key to alleviating financial distress is to offer services that will address fundamental needs to ease the burden of financial worry. This support will allow patients to focus on achieving wellness without the extra anxiety of covering all the direct and indirect costs of treatment.

The updated 2024 Patient Guide to Cancer Support Services provides essential information to help find financial assistance that is available right now. This Guide, brought to you by CONQUER magazine, shows support in the form of receiving cancer treatment for free or with a copay, coinsurance, or deductible.

Please ask in the clinic if financial advocacy staff or navigators are available to help find the right financial support. Use the contact information contained in the Guide (organized by cancer type) that applies to your treatment to find specific therapies and financial assistance programs available. As contact is made with the relevant programs, forms filled out by your healthcare team may be needed. Do not hesitate to ask for help with the forms. And remember to ask if there are local resources for financial care that are not listed in this Guide.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This Guide was created to help lessen the heavy financial burdens of your cancer care, so that you can get the treatment you need with one less thing to worry about. If your center does not employ financial advocates, please show other staff this Guide to ask for help in applying for financial assistance.

Read 2024 Guide to Cancer Support Services »