Resources for U.S. Veterans with Cancer

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2022

The resources on this page offer cancer-related information and support to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Contact these resources directly to learn more about their programs and services. Resources change often, so this list may not include all of your options. Please note that these links take you to other, independent websites.

There are also many other organizations and support resources for people with cancer and their caregivers.

Insurance resources

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA is a government organization that provides health care benefits to eligible U.S. veterans. Each veteran's health care benefits varies. An eligible veteran can use VA health care even if they have other health insurance. Apply for VA health care benefits online.

TRICARE. TRICARE is a U.S. Department of Defense health care program for current and retired service members. Learn more about who is eligible and TRICARE health plans.

Medicare. Medicare is the federal health insurance program. It covers people 65 and older and some disabled Americans. If you have VA health care, you can also apply to Medicare. This may give you more health care options.

Medicaid. Medicaid is a type of government health insurance for people with low incomes who meet certain conditions. Each U.S. state runs its own program and has different eligibility requirements. Having Medicaid does not affect a veteran's VA health care benefits. Veterans who do not get VA benefits or other health coverage can buy insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

Learn more about the basics of health insurance.

Veterans Affairs resources

The VA offers a variety of resources for veterans and their families.

Disability benefits resources. Some veterans who got cancer during or after their active military service may be able to get VA disability compensation. This includes cancers that may be related to military exposures, such as Agent Orange or ionizing radiation. This could be referred to as “service connection,” which is how the VA recognizes that a particular disability is related to their military service. Once service connection is determined, a veteran can receive compensation for that disability or medical condition. The level of service connection can vary from 0% to 100%, and the level of service connection helps to determine the compensation for that disability.

Military exposure resources. The VA provides information on possible military exposures that may be linked to cancer and other health problems.

Health exams. The VA provides free health exams to eligible veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange and ionizing radiation.

Veterans Affairs claims assistance resources

Veterans can get free help filing for VA health care and disability benefits from organizations the VA calls "accredited representatives." These representatives are also called service officers. The VA allows these officers to represent veterans who have VA issues. Service officers may work for county or state government entities. They are also found in veterans service organizations (VSOs), including:

You can also search the VA database of local accredited VSO representatives.

Transportation and housing assistance for veterans

Angel Wings for Veterans. This organization provides veterans and their families with free travel for clinical cancer care. They provide gas cards, bus and train tickets, general aviation flights, and commercial airline tickets.

Disabled American Veterans Need a Ride Program. This program provides free transportation to and from VA medical facilities for sick or injured veterans. Check the program's Service Coordinator Directory (PDF) to see if there is a van near you.

VA Veterans Transportation Service. The VA offers transportation for veterans who need help getting to and from VA facilities and approved non-VA health care appointments.

VA Beneficiary Travel Program. The VA may reimburse eligible veterans for travel costs to and from VA facilities.

Fisher House Foundation. Fisher House provides military and veterans families free housing close to a loved one in the hospital or who is receiving care at the VA. Veterans who are receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other cancer-related treatments can utilize this housing during their care based on availability and medical clearance.

Financial support resources for veterans

CancerCare. CancerCare offers limited financial assistance for cancer-related care. This includes transportation, home care, and child care. The CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation helps cover co-pays for cancer treatment. CancerCare has a list of sources for financial assistance. You can also use its database of groups that provide financial or practical help.

Operation First Response
. This nonprofit's Military Family Assistance programs provide financial aid for various expenses for ill veterans.

Semper Fi & America's Fund. This organization provides financial assistance to critically ill members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Local service or volunteer groups may also offer veterans financial assistance. These groups include Catholic Charities, Jewish Social Services, the Lions Club, Lutheran Social Services, the Salvation Army, and more. Some of these groups offer grants to help cover the cost of treatment and other expenses. Others help with certain services or products, such as travel or medicine. Many hospitals and clinics have a list of local service groups or a social worker can help you find a list of nearby groups.

Learn more about financial resources for people with cancer.

Cancer prevention and healthy living resources for veterans

Move! Weight Management Program. This program is designed to help veterans eat healthy, move more, and manage their weight.
. This partnership between the VA and the National Cancer Institute focuses on helping veterans stop using tobacco products.

Stay Quit Coach. This free mobile app was designed by the VA to help veterans stop smoking.

TeleQuit. VA health care offers this free program for veterans who want to quit smoking. TeleQuit provides veterans with coaching and support.

Cancer organizations

American Cancer Society (ACS). ACS provides cancer-related information and referrals to patient-related programs or resources.

CancerCare. CancerCare provides information, resources, and support for veterans and their families who are coping with cancer and its treatment.

National Cancer Institute (NCI). Information specialists at the NCI Cancer Information Service center can help answer questions on cancer.

GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. The GO2 Foundation offers information on lung cancer screening and care for veterans and other people at risk.

Veterans Prostate Cancer Awareness (VPCa). VPCa is dedicated to saving lives by promoting awareness, early detection, and providing solutions among Veterans, active-duty military, and all men.

You can also find other groups that offer resources for a specific cancer type on another page on Cancer.Net.

This list is provided for informational purposes only. Cancer.Net and ASCO do not endorse the content, operators, products, or services of such applications and websites and are not responsible directly or indirectly for any damages or injury caused by or in connection with use of any content, products, or services available through third-party applications and websites. As always, be sure to talk with your health care team about any questions you may have about information you find.

If you know of a correction or addition to the information provided here, please email