Once faced with a cancer diagnosis, a little help goes a long way. You may feel overwhelmed and have many questions, or you may not even know where to begin or what questions to ask. The American Cancer Society (ACS) offers a variety of information and programs to support patients, caregivers and family members throughout diagnosis and treatment.
Accessing this free support can be done by calling the ACS toll free at 1-800-227-2345 or visiting Cancer.org/treatment to learn more about the following treatment and support topics:
- Understanding your diagnosis – How is a cancer diagnosis made and what does it mean? Answers to the most common questions about cancer, and suggestions to help talk with your health care team and with people close to you.
- Finding and paying for treatment – Have questions about finding the right health care team for you? Practical aspects of starting treatment such as dealing with financial and insurance issues, as well as lists of questions you should ask and interactive tools to learn about how specific cancers are typically treated.
- Treatment and side effects – Get details on treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and more. Learn about traditional therapies, newer forms of treatment, and complementary and alternative therapies, as well as possible side effects of these treatments.
- Children and cancer – Learn how a cancer diagnosis in a family with children can have unique challenges. Information on helping children cope when a parent or other family member has cancer, as well as suggestions for parents and families when a child has been diagnosed with cancer.
- For caregivers and family – Find out what to expect when you take care of someone with cancer, and tips for making sure that you take care of yourself as well. A cancer diagnosis affects close friends and family too.
- Nearing the end of life – Get all the information you need about hospice care and dealing with loss. Many patients and caregivers have questions about what they might expect.
ACS support programs and services
- National Cancer Information Center (NCIC) – Information and support, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 1-800-227-2345. Cancer information specialists can connect you with any of the below programs, or provide information on any of the above treatment and support topics.
- Patient lodging programs – Hotel lodging through a cooperative effort with hotels across the country, and 30 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
- Road to Recovery – Transportation to and from cancer treatment by volunteer drivers.
- Reach to Recovery – One-on-one support for breast cancer patients with a breast cancer survivor through in-person visits or over the phone.
- TLC: Hair loss and mastectomy products – Catalog and website for women with helpful information and affordable products. All proceeds are reinvested into ACS programs and services for patients and survivors. Visit Tlcdirect.org
- Look Good, Feel Better – Trained volunteer cosmetologists teach women how to cope with skin changes and hair loss using cosmetics and skin care products. Resources are also available for men and teens to help them cope with appearance-related side effects.
- Patient Navigator Program – About 100 Patient Navigators are strategically located nationwide to support patients and caregivers.
Be sure to check out “Part 3” of this series: “Survivorship — How can the American Cancer Society support you?” in the next issue of Life to the Fullest.
This article is from the Fall 2017 issue of Life to the Fullest, the newsletter from the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) dedicated to those with cancer, cancer survivors, and their family members and caregivers.