I am frequently asked by friends and co-workers what we nurses do at the Cancer AnswerLine™. My brief answer is that we provide our callers with information and resources to help navigate the world of cancer. Hearing the word cancer is scary and can be made worse by feeling alone, helpless or not knowing where to turn for help. That is where we come in!
There are a variety of organizations devoted to helping cancer patients and their families, with information, medication support, lodging, respite care, transportation assistance, etc. An important part of our job is to put our callers in contact with such organizations that can help in their time of need.
I have complied some of the most frequently used resources we give out with the hope our readers will find them useful, too:
- The National Cancer Institute Support Services locator – visitors can search a nationwide database by the type of assistance needed (support groups, educational, financial, etc.)
- Cancer Care – in order to qualify for assistance the person must be in active cancer treatment and must be at 250% of the Federal Poverty Limit.
- Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition – is composed of 14 member organizations which help cancer patients with financial challenges. Visitors to the site can search by cancer type or geographic location to see what resources are available.
- The American Cancer Society (ACS) – visitors can search for ACS programs in their area such as Road to Recovery, I Can Cope, and Look Good, Feel Better
- Cancer Support Community – offers support groups and education, and a toll-free Cancer Support Helpline
In addition to the resources noted above, almost every type of cancer has a national organization or advocacy group (i.e., the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for those affected by cancers of the blood). If you do a simple Internet search for the type of cancer and support, you can find cancer-specific help too. People who have a rare or unusual diagnosis can contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
Patients who have established care within a health system can request a meeting with a social worker. Social workers are health care professionals who assist patients and families with adjusting to their diagnosis and can be a wealth of information for support and resources.
Sometimes people just need a human connection or someone to talk to, and that is why we are here at the Cancer AnswerLine™. Your call is always free and confidential. (1-800-865-1125 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST.)
The Cancer AnswerLine™ is a dedicated phone line at the Comprehensive Cancer Center that is staffed by oncology nurses five days a week, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 800-865-1125. They have a combined 105 years of experience helping patients and their families who have questions about cancer.
The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan for cancer patient care. Seventeen multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.