When my dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, my family was tossed head first into a completely terrifying and unfamiliar world.
Within a 2 year period, 6 people I love including my husband and my mother were all diagnosed with this terrorizing disease.
Once cancer drops in, things start happening really fast and before you know it you are literally drowning in emotions, fear and uncertainty.
The stress is unbelievable.
As you are fighting to emerge from underneath the confusion of this huge shocking bomb that has just been dropped on you there are some important questions that jump into your mind…
- Will anything ever be the same?
- How will you possibly make it through?
- Where do you even start to try to manage all of this?
So, we put together a collection of the best cancer resources for families we’ve found to help you get through this. And they don’t cost a dime.
Hopefully, they will make the journey for your family a little bit easier.
Heads up: If you have no idea how to deal with all this cancer business, we can help you formulate a plan to tackle the immediate issues… finding the best care, talking with your insurance company, finding resources that will actually help, and dealing with the fear, anxiety and overwhelm of this whole situation.
We can’t control the cancer, but we CAN show you how to manage this crisis. And it’s 100% Free.
The Best Cancer Resources For Families and Where to Find Them.
1. Start by Contacting Your Insurance Company
Here is what a lot of people (including us) didn’t know in the beginning.
Your insurance company is going to be instrumental in helping you navigate all of this stuff.
First, they help you figure out what’s covered under your insurance and where you can seek treatment. They can also help you figure out if you need to pay a deductible or if co-payments are applicable (if you’re lucky, you’ll pay neither).
Tell them about your situation and ask them directly if they have any special resources or services for this type of situation… Such as help with travel expenses (like food, lodging, train tickets or mileage).
Our insurance offered a Cancer Resources Benefit.
They allowed us to submit for reimbursement up to a certain amount when we sought treatment at what they considered to be a Center of Excellence (there were several, but we chose Memorial Sloan Kettering).
That program helped up cover…
• Food • Lodging • Mileage • Train tickets • Taxi’s
Note: Pay attention to the stipulations, our benefit was only applicable if our facility was 100 miles away from our home address. They have a closer location within Sloan that’s not covered because it’s only 86 miles away from our home.
Depending on your insurance, the amounts might be small, but trust me every little bit helps.
And you can supplement things like lodging with resources like The Hope Lodge which is a free place to stay during treatment.
2. Next, Talk to A Social Worker
Once you’ve spoken to the insurance company, and you have an idea of what
kind of numbers you’re looking at, things may still be looking pretty overwhelming.
Ask to speak to a Social Worker which will be available through your Oncologist’s office. Social workers have access and knowledge to all kinds of resources and options that may be available for your situation.
They have access to resources for things like housing during treatment, help with medical bills, help with co-payments, help with prescription medications, the list goes on and on…
Social workers can guide you to the people and the resources that will help make your journey a lot easier.
3. Finally, Check Out These Additional Resources
There are a TON of cancer resources for families going through this. Here are just a few to get you started…
Best Cancer Hospitals in the US: A full list of the best cancer centers in the United States.
Best Cancer Hospitals World Wide: This is where you’ll find the best rated cancer centers in the world.
The Hope Lodge: My father-in law who had a donor bone marrow transplant (about 4 months prior to the 2020 pandemic) stayed in the Hope Lodge NYC. It’s a free place to stay when you’re getting treatment far away from home.
They “lived there for about 3 months, until they were safely able to return home. And let me tell you, this place is Ah-mazing. Seriously.
Resources to Help with Cancer Related Expenses: This link gives you information about the type of help that’s available to help with expenses.
Road to Recovery: Finding rides to and from treatment.
Caregiver and Family Resources: Cancer affects everyone. This info can help you learn how to care for someone going through this and help them (and yourself) cope with everything that is happening.
Understanding A Diagnosis: This is a great guide for how to understanding what cancer is and how it affects the body. It explains staging and movement and it also gives you insight into what tests are used to evaluate treatment options.
Expert Information: On practically every type of cancer can be found here.
Family Caregiving: Tons of information including how to get paid as a caregiver, how to cope, creating a caregiving plan and ways to manage all of this.
Memberships Benefits: They have a lot of additional benefits for members and tons of information about Medicare.
Financial Considerations– This talks about ways to manage your money to help you prepare for a long-term diagnosis.
Coping with Cancer– These resources help you through ways to talk with the people you love, manage emotions and the effects of cancer.
Understanding Cancer– The basics of what cancer is, how it spreads and understanding diagnosis and medical terms that might come up during conversations with your doctor.
For Patients and Caregivers– Has great info for every aspect of the cancer journey. From prevention, understanding a diagnosis, resources to help, treatment and caregiving.
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)– Benefits that allow you job protection. Patients or caregivers can take medical related time off from their jobs.
Your State Government Website– (New York for example, provides eligible Firemen with a cancer benefit. And also gives people without insurance access to cancer screenings.)
The local Government Website– A local women’s league who placed flyers at our local bank, has helped my father in law pay for hundreds of dollars in medical expenses. Trust me, everything helps.
You may have to do some digging, but these resources will hopefully help you get started…
If you live outside of the United States, we recommend reaching out to your doctor and asking for cancer resources for families that can help. Then I would check your federal, state and local governments (or how ever the government system works in your country) for additional resources.
The Cancer Binder Pack: A step by step printable pack that helps you organize important medical information. An easy system so you can always find what you need when you need it.
Take Back Your Life From Cancer– You know, the kind of tired that no matter how much you sleep, it doesn’t get any better. This journal was designed to help you dump some of that stress.
The Cancer Combat Plan– A manual that walks you step-by-step through what to do and how to deal. When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer this will help.
8 Steps To Enduring The Heartbreaking Conversations: How to get through those conversations that completely destroy you. Read this before your next appointment.
The Power of A Bucket List: You beat cancer by how you live. This is how my family decided that no matter what the outcome was, we were going to win this fight.
Coping Strategies for Dealing Family Dynamics: Family dynamics you may not expect and how to deal with them.
How to Deal With Bad News at the Doctor’s Office– When the news doesn’t go as expected, these tips will help you through.
Tools To Help Manage Diarrhea During Cancer– The ultimate tool guide for dealing with this pretty common side effect of cancer and cancer treatment.
Overcoming the Fear- The fear associated with this disease is paralyzing. Here are some real ways to get through it.
Waiting: One of the most stressful parts of cancer, and how to get through it.
Surviving the New Normal: How to adjust to the “new normal” that comes with a cancer diagnosis.
117 Ways to Take a Break from Cancer– A giant list of things to do when you need a break from this disease.
Finding resources to actually help you through this journey can feel impossible. Especially when the whole world is falling down around you. We’ve found the best cancer resources for families. And we’ve put them together for you so you can save your energy for the important stuff.
Did we miss any? Leave a comment and let us know!
P.S. If you have no idea how to deal with a cancer diagnosis, we can help you formulate a plan. So you can SIMPLIFY the complex “stuff” that comes with this disease…
Finding the best care, talking with your insurance company, finding resources that will actually help, and dealing with the fear, anxiety and overwhelm of this whole situation.
We can’t control the cancer, but we CAN show you how to manage this crisis. And it’s 100% Free.
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