Additional Support

We understand that a cancer diagnosis can impact a woman on many levels and in many ways. Services have been established to provide financial and emotional support, legal counseling, and additional information.  Although finding these limited resources can seem like a daunting task, we have managed to gather a list of programs that provide assistance if you fall within their guidelines. This is a good starting place.

Financial Resources
Legal Resources
Other Resources

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Financial Resources

We understand that a cancer diagnosis can be a great financial burden on you, as well as on your family, but programs have been established to help you. Although finding these limited resources can seem like a daunting task, we’ve managed to gather a list of programs that provide assistance if you fall within their guidelines.

National Financial Resources

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
800/232-4636

The Early Detection Program offers free or low-cost mammograms and pap smears. Age and income requirements vary from state to state, so call their number and select option 7 to find the number for your local program office. This information is also available on their website under program contacts. There you can select the desired state and view the contact information. Selected web pages on their site are also available in Spanish.

Under the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act (P.L. 106-354), states were given the option of providing Medicaid coverage to low-income, uninsured women under 65 years of age who have been screened and diagnosed through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP), and need breast or cervical cancer treatment. See the status of legislation in your state, or contact toll-free 888/842-6355 to find your local program manager. You can also go to your local county clinic or hospital to find out about the breast cancer early detection program in place for low-income women in your area.

Hill-Burton Uncompensated Services Program

You may be able to get Hill-Burton assistance for free or a reduced charge. You can call their hotline number (800/638-0742) to find out if you meet the requirements and where Hill-Burton facilities are located in your area. In some cases you have to be within the poverty line, but for others you can qualify if your income is double or even triple the poverty guidelines. For additional information, visit the Hill-Burton Facilities Compliance and Recovery Homepage.

AVONCares Program for Medically Underserved Women

An organization called Cancercare provides financial assistance and relevant education and support services to low-income, underinsured, uninsured, and underserved women throughout the country who need diagnostic services and/or treatment for cancer. Their number is 800/813-HOPE(4673). By clicking on the “Financial Needs” section of their website, you can find several resources for many different kinds of assistance, everything from hospital bills, to food and transportation help.

Department of Social Services

General assistance programs help cover medical costs for people who are not eligible for other programs. Call your state or local Department of Social Services for more information. Their numbers can be found in your local phone directory.

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society’s local chapters usually have information available to help with the burden of cancer-related costs. Their number is 800/ACS(272)-2345.

The R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation

Provides a directory of multidisciplinary second opinions for anywhere in the country.  Some services are free, others are not. Call them at 800/433-0464.

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Local (San Francisco Bay Area) Financial Resources

Breast Cancer Emergency Fund

Low-income San Francisco residents disabled by breast cancer receive $600 annually to help pay for such basic necessities as rent, utilities, phone bills, special medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, childcare, and transportation. 415/558-6999.

Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Fund Program

This program provides treatment for low-income, uninsured breast cancer patients. Call them at 800/824-0088.

San Francisco General’s Women’s Health Center

Holds a specialty clinic on Wednesday afternoons that evaluates breast abnormalities in women under 40. Call 415/206-3409 for an appointment.

Lifelines

This is a project of the Breast Cancer Fund and Shanti. The program was designed to serve women with breast cancer in San Francisco by providing practical and emotional support services free of charge. Call 415/674-4780 for more information.

Breast Cancer Connections

This nonprofit organization located in Palo Alto has a program that pays for breast cancer screening and diagnosis for individuals under the age of 40. To be eligible, one must live in or be referred by her primary care physician or local community health clinic in the San Mateo or Santa Clara counties. Call them at 650/326-6686.

Second Opinion

A group of volunteer physicians in the Bay Area who will review your medical records and offer you a free second opinion. Call them at 415/775-9956.

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Legal Resources

National Legal Resources

Cancer Legal Resource Center
213/736-1455

E-mail: Barbara.schwerin@lls.edu

A Los Angeles–based organization that provides information and educational outreach on cancer-related legal issues.

Patient Advocate Foundation
800/532-5274

A national organization that serves as an active liaison between the patient and their insurer, employer, and/or creditors to resolve insurance, job retention, and/or debt crisis matters relative to their diagnosis through case managers, doctors, and attorneys.

State Bar Association

Find your state’s bar association

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Legal Services in California

California Women’s Law Center—Breast Cancer Legal Project
323/951-1041

Email: cwlc@cwlc.org

A Los Angeles–based organization that provides education, advocacy, and empowerment to women on legal issues arising from the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. They also provide free legal assistance to lower-income women.

San Francisco Bar Association Volunteer Legal Services Program

415/989-1616

The Volunteer Legal Services Program provides free legal aid to low-income and disadvantaged people suffering from evictions, family issues, and some financial claims, as well as reduced fees for other services.

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Other Resources

Books

Hundreds of books have been written on breast cancer. Many are available in the public library. Here are some that we suggest for newly diagnosed women.

  • Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book (3rd edition), by Susan Love, MD, and Karen Lindsey
  • Everyone’s Guide to Cancer Therapy, by Dollinger
  • Choices in Healing, by Michael Lerner (a resource on complementary and alternative cancer treatments)
  • Breast Cancer: What You Should Know (But May Not Be Told) by Steve Austin, ND, and Cathy Hitchcock, MSW

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Internet

Beware that not everything you read on the web is reliable. Some well-known and credible websites on breast cancer are:

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San Francisco Bay Area Resources

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United States Government Resources

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State of California Resources

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National Support/Health Groups

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Additional Resources

 

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