Financial Resources

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2018

The cost of cancer care may be a concern if you or family member has been diagnosed with cancer. Because bills and debt can add up quickly, people may want to seek financial help soon after being diagnosed with cancer. Oncology social workers, case managers, doctors, and oncology nurses can help or provide referrals to support services and financial resources. Although coping with daily financial responsibilities may sometimes seem overwhelming, it is important not to let bills pile up and go unpaid. Learn more about organizing your finances.

Finding financial support resources

In addition to information from social workers and other health care providers, there are several national and local service organizations that help people with cancer who are facing financial challenges. Contact these organizations directly to learn more about the specific programs and services available for you and your family.

National service organizations

The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC) is a group of national organizations that provide financial help to patients. CFAC provides a searchable database of financial resources.

CancerCare (800-813-4673) provides limited financial assistance for co-pays, transportation, home care, and child care. It also provides a list of sources for financial assistance and a database of organizations providing financial or practical help.

The HealthWellFoundation (800-675-8416) is an independent, non-profit organization that helps patients with a chronic, life-altering disease afford their medications when health insurance is not enough.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's patient financial aid program (800-955-4572) provides limited financial assistance to help defray treatment-related expenses for patients diagnosed with a blood cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma, who have a significant financial need.

The National Foundation for Transplants (800-489-3863) provides fundraising assistance for patients needing transplants, including bone marrow and stem cell transplants.

Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit organization that provides cancer survivorship materials and resources.

Cancer Finances offers an online-tool to help guide you through some key topics that may impact your financial situation. Whether you are newly diagnosed, or many years past active treatment, this site can help you navigate finances after cancer. 

Local service organizations

Local service or volunteer organizations such as Catholic Charities, Jewish Social Services, the Lions Club, Lutheran Social Services, the Salvation Army, and others may offer financial assistance. Some of these organizations offer grants to help cover the cost of treatment and other expenses, while others help with specific services or products, such as travel or medications. A social worker or an Internet search can provide you with a list of organizations. Many hospitals and clinics also maintain a list of service organizations in the community.

The American Cancer Society (800-227-2345) and the local United Way office can also direct people to services in their community.

The Department of Social Services in your city or county may provide food, housing, and other general assistance services. Sometimes they may offer direct financial assistance. Check the local telephone directory or online for contact information.

Community-based groups, such as local churches, synagogues, mosques, and lodges may also provide assistance for people with cancer, sometimes even if the person is not a member of that particular organization or religion. Some hospitals also have private funds available for patients in need.

Often, cancer advocacy and patient information groups have resources for patients. Get a list of patient information resources to connect to cancer organizations nationwide.

Housing assistance

The Healthcare Hospitality Network (800-542-9730) is an association of more than 200 nonprofit organizations that provide lodging and support services to patients, families, and their loved ones who are receiving medical treatment away from home.

The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge (800-227-2345) gives people with cancer and their caregivers a free place to stay while receiving treatment in another city. Currently, there are 30 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Joe's House (877-563-7468) is a nonprofit organization providing a nation-wide online service that helps people with cancer and their families find a place to stay when traveling away from home for medical treatment.

Ronald McDonald House Charities (630-623-7048) offer free or reduced-cost lodging for families of seriously ill children who are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals.

Travel assistance

Air Care Alliance (888-260-9707) offers a central listing of free transportation services provided by volunteer pilots and charitable aviation groups.

Air Charity Network (877-621-7177) coordinates free air transportation for children and adults in need through various organizations around the United States.

Air Compassion for Veterans (857-228-4636) provides free air and ground transportation for ill, injured, and wounded veterans and their family for medical care.

Along Comes Hope® (805-322-1423) provides support for the families of children with cancer, through financial assistance with travel for treatment, creative emotional support programs, and advocacy to promote policy changes, awareness, and education.

Angel Airline Samaritans facilitates no-cost or reduced rate commercial airline tickets to and from distant specialized medical evaluations or treatments for people with cancer in need and their families.

The Corporate Angel Network (914-328-1313) arranges free air transportation for people with cancer traveling to treatment using empty seats on private and corporate jets.

LifeLine Pilots (800-822-7972) facilitate free air transportation through volunteer pilots for financially distressed passengers with medical and humanitarian needs.

Mercy Medical Angels (888-675-1405) offers free or low-cost transportation for medical evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment.

PALS (Patient AirLift Services) (888-818-1231) arranges free air transportation for people for medical diagnosis, treatment, or follow-up who cannot afford or are unable to fly commercially.

Medication and treatment cost assistance

Medication assistance programs grid for patients (PDF), which is compiled, updated, and generously provided by Wendalyn Andrews, Practice Manager, Division of Hematology/Oncology, The University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, Arizona. (Last updated: November 2016)

The Assist Fund (855-845-3663) provides financial support to chronically ill patients with high-cost medications.

Good Days (877-968-7233) provides financial support by covering co-pays for those with life-altering conditions.

NeedyMeds.com  (800-503-6897) is dedicated to helping people locate assistance programs to help them afford their medications and other healthcare costs.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients who lack prescription drug coverage obtain the medications they need.

The Patient Access Network Foundation (866-316-7263) assists patients with out-of-pocket costs associated with their treatment.

Patient Services, Inc. (800-366-7741) provides assistance with insurance premiums and co-payments for people with chronic diseases.

RxHope.com helps patients obtain free or low-cost prescription medications.

General financial help

The American Childhood Cancer Organization maintains a list of organizations offering financial assistance.

The Patient Advocate Foundation (800-532-5274) provides education, legal counseling, and referrals for people with cancer who need assistance managing insurance, financial, debt crisis, and job discrimination issues. It also provides co-pay assistance and financial aid for eligible patients.

Cancer Family Relief Fund is a charitable organization that encourages and facilitates grants to children whose parent or guardian is struggling with a diagnosis of cancer. These grants support the children's extracurricular activities so that they may feel some sense of normalcy as their parent focuses on treatment and recovery.

Related Resources

Understanding the Costs Related to Cancer Care

Health Insurance

Glossary of Cost-Related Terms

Finding Support and Information

More Information

CancerCare: Financial Assistance

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Finances and Insurance Coverage

LIVESTRONG: Money & Insurance

National Cancer Institute: Managing Costs and Medical Information