A cancer diagnosis can be shocking, and bring out a wide range of emotions including fear, anger, sadness and disbelief.

Add the additional stress of financial burden and many patients and families may feel completely overwhelmed.

Please know that there are numerous organizations ready to help. Cancer.Net, for example, provides comprehensive, oncologist-approved information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), with support from the Conquer Cancer Foundation. They offer tips such as tracking costs and setting up a personal system of organization. Healthcare.Gov also supplies links to apply for hardship exemptions. Requesting a case manager at your hospital, or a patient navigator, can also be helpful in guiding you toward additional resources.

The list below includes federal, state, and private funding opportunities as well as organizations that can help in creating your own personal funding platform.

With the number of survivors continuously growing, there is an increasing need for resources and support everyday life and work after diagnosis and treatment. There are many reasons why one might be looking for a new job during or after cancer treatment. Taking time to carefully consider your options can help ensure that they land in the right place. Visit Cancer + Careers to learn more.

MA Lifespan Respite Coalition

As a caregiver, you may at some point need respite care in an emergency to deal with a personal health crisis, housing or job loss, or another immediate situation that might put the care recipient in harms way. For children, this type of respite may be called a “Crisis Nursery.” Emergency or crisis respite may be more difficult to find, so familiarizing yourself with providers who might offer it or even registering in advance with such providers, is important.  Massachusetts Respite Funding and Eligibility Opportunities

Cancer Resource Foundation

Cancer Resource Foundation is open to individuals from Massachusetts.. Applicants must meet eligibility criteria. Funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.


The Boston BullPen Project is a non-profit determined to make a difference. By utilizing the expertise of established social service providers and philanthropic gestures of partner vendors, they fill gaps in support services, such as purchasing furniture, mattresses, clothing and providing heating oil, rent and utility payments.

Family Reach is a national nonprofit dedicated to alleviating the financial burden of cancer. Working with more than 300 hospitals and cancer centers nationwide, we provide immediate financial assistance, education and navigation to families before they hit critical breaking points.

Marisa’s Mission Foundation is committed to helping patients and families lessen their financial burdens, and focus solely on their health and the valuable time they spend with loved ones. They support families with: Hospital visits/Parking/Gas; Travel/Lodging; Patient/Family support; Special transportation; Medication; Copays; Special family trips; Caregiving; Alternative Therapy, and Home Care Assistance.

The Carin MacLean Foundation is an independent non-profit charitable organization. Financial assistance is provided to help with medical bills, child care and wage loss. Our Helping Hands Program offers multiple services including groceries with delivery, house cleaning and an errand professional. We know every little bit helps during such a difficult time, and want to help in any possible way.

ROFEH International (Reaching Out Furnishing Emergency Healthcare) is a humanitarian project dedicated to helping the sick from all walks of life. ROFEH supports patients and their families from around the world and throughout the United States when they are forced to leave their homes to seek emergency medical treatment at Boston’s prestigious medical centers by providing a wide variety of support services to ensure that patients and their families have the best resources available during their stay in Boston.

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps uninsured and underinsured patients find programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. Since 2005, PPA has helped connect nearly 9.5 million Americans to public and private assistance programs. Download this free PDF.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.24.42 AMThe Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) provides information that includes assistance with accessing affordable prescription drug programs through the Medicare Drug Benefit, as well as medication assistance options for other uninsured or underinsured residents of Massachusetts.

Sam Fund

The SAMFund provides financial assistance to young adults as they move forward with their lives after cancer. With our support, survivors are empowered to achieve their educational, professional and personal goals. Since 2005, we have awarded over $1,900,000 to recipients across the country.

Ellie FundThe Ellie Fund is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that provides critical and essential support services to breast cancer patients throughout Massachusetts to ease the stresses of everyday life, allowing the focus to be on family, recovery and healing. Services include grocery cards, meal delivery, gas cards, transportation to and from appointments, parking reimbursement, light housekeeping and childcare.

The Sanborn Foundation helps Arlington Massachusetts residents pay for expenses related to their cancer care and treatment such as: medication, hospital and doctor co-pays, medical equipment, home health aides, housecleaning in preparation for stem cell procedures, integrative therapies, and more.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 4.37.21 PMThe mission of Learn Live Love is to provide financial assistance to women and families in local communities across Massachusetts who have been touched by the devastation of cancer. Their vision is inspired by the sincerest belief that shared knowledge is power and shared experience is healing.

LLS CopayThe Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Co-Pay Assistance Program helps you pay your insurance premiums and meet co-pay obligations. We’ll also help you find additional sources of financial aid. The Co-Pay Assistance Program offers financial help toward:Blood cancer treatment-related co-payments;Private health insurance premiums;Medicare Part B, Medicare Plan D, Medicare, Supplementary Health Insurance, Medicare Advantage premium, Medicaid Spend-down or co-pay obligations.

Cancer Financial Assistance

The CFAC is a coalition of 14 financial assistance organizations joining forces to help cancer patients experience better health and well-being by limiting financial challenges.

yadYad Chessed helps Jewish families and individuals in need. They support clients across Massachusetts by alleviating economic distress and providing ongoing support to help them reach financial stability.

Needy MedsNeedyMeds is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit information resource dedicated to helping people locate assistance programs to help them afford their medications and other healthcare costs. Their mission is to be the best source of accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date information on programs that help people facing problems paying for medications and health care; to assist those in need in applying to programs; and to provide health-related education using innovative methods.

Miss Pink supports patients and families by providing funds to cover costs of medical bills and basic necessities like meals during times of treatment. They also work to educate the community by teaching about early detection; support breast cancer research, offer fitness events, Miss Pink Mentors, and a patient Robe Program. Learn more at MissPink.Org

Andruzzi Foundation


(UP) BEAT CANCER – The Joe Andruzzi Foundation’s Financial Assistance Program – is designed to help families cover basic living expenses, for example: mortgage, rent, electricity, gas, oil, telephone, cable, or other similar expenses. All grant monies are mailed to the patient with checks written directly to the service providers. The Financial Assistance Program does not help with the cost of medical expenses or credit card bills.

CnetThe cost of medical treatment is among the many concerns you may have if you, a friend, 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.

PAN Found

PAN is an independent non-profit organization that provides assistance to under-insured patients for their out-of-pocket expenses for life-saving medications. PAN supports patients through nearly 60 oncology, chronic, and rare disease funds that cover conditions such as multiple myeloma, metastatic breast cancer, and lung cancer (non-small cell). Patients and their advocates can apply for assistance by calling 866.316.7263 or start the application process online at PANFoundation.org.

Patient Advocate Foundation is a national 501 (c)(3) non-profit providing professional case management services to Americans with chronic, life threatening and debilitating illnesses. PAF case managers serve as active liaisons between the patient and their insurer, employer and/or creditors to resolve insurance, job retention and/or debt crisis matters as they relate to their diagnosis also assisted by doctors and healthcare attorneys. No patient dealing with a serious illness or disease wants to hear that their insurer will not cover a needed aspect of their care. Many patients do not realize they can appeal a denial, and also receive financial aid.

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A list of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical patient assistance programs, including directions on how to apply, and links to enrollment forms. PDF also includes 7 steps to improving the patient experience with the chemotherapy process a patient assistance flow chart, and a PAP Quick Reference and Reimbursement Guide.

swanThe S.W.A.N. Society in Boston helps senior women maintain their standard of living by giving both to individuals with emergency needs, and through grants to other organizations who share their goals to support single women facing daunting financial challenges.

_wbc-logoWe Beat Cancer works with hospitals, cancer support groups, individuals, and foundations in the New England area to provide financial aid from parking, meals, transportation and hotel accommodations, to wish list requests from area hospitals. Such hospital items have ranged from a Bose surround sound system  to a mammogram x-ray chair.

The HealthWell Foundation provides financial assistance to eligible individuals to cover coinsurance, copayments, health care premiums and deductibles for certain medications and therapies. If you’ve been prescribed a medication and your insurance company covers it, but you still cannot afford the coinsurance or copayment required, we may be able to assist you by paying for part of your costs associated with the medication. Also, if you are eligible for health insurance, but cannot afford the insurance premium, we may be able to assist with your insurance premium.

In addition to treatment, sometimes unplanned expenses related to care may arise. For some people, these additional costs stop them from following or completing their cancer treatment plan. This can put their health at risk and may lead to higher costs in the future. In this FREE booklet, you will learn how to identify the medical and non-medical costs; talk about managing or lowering these costs with members of your health care team; find tools, information, and resources that will help you better plan your costs before, during, and after cancer treatment.

This FREE Downloadable booklet will help answer questions about managing costs.

Hardships are financial situations and other circumstances that keep you from getting health insurance. If you qualify for a hardship exemption, you don’t have to pay a fee for the months you were uncovered. To claim a hardship health coverage exemption, you must fill out an application, print it, and mail it to the Health Insurance Marketplace. If your exemption is approved, you claim it when you file your federal income tax return.

Medicaid is a health and long-term care coverage program that was enacted in 1965. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was established in 1997 to provide new coverage opportunities for children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who cannot afford private coverage. Both Medicaid and CHIP are administered by states within broad federal guidelines and jointly funded by the federal government and states. This page outlines key characteristics of Medicaid and CHIP in Massachusettsand provides documents and information relevant to how the programs have been implemented by Massachusetts within federal guidelines.

Patients Rising was formed to stand up for patients and advocate for their rights. To fight for their access to the medications they need and deserve. And to tell the truth about health care. Learn about financial assistance for Medicaid, Medicare, and the uninsured.

Private Fundraising Tools

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As more caregivers face paying for loved ones’ unexpected out-of-pocket health care costs, they are turning to crowdfunding sites that focus on personal causes. Sites like GiveForward, GoFundMe and Fundly have devoted sections to health expenses, including specific diseases like cancer. Read the New York Times article “Managing Health Care Costs With Crowdfunding” By Constance Gustke

YouCaring Fundraising with YouCaring is absolutely free for fundraiser organizers. There are no fees to create an online fundraiser and no fees charged by YouCaring when people donate to your fundraiser. Running an online fundraiser, with YouCaring or any other fundraising site, does require a third-party credit card processor. They give users the option of working with PayPal or WePay. Both of these processors charge similar processing fees for donations, typically 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction. Each accepts all major credit cards and even checks. For more information, please see the PayPal and WePay fee tables.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 6.39.45 PMGiveForward comes with a fee of  7.9% + $0.50 per transaction. Approximately 2.9% + $0.50 goes to their online payment service provider. They use the remaining 5% to maintain their staff of fundraising coaches and developers who work hard to make sure users have the technology and personal support they need to make their fundraiser a success.

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San Diego-based GoFundMe was launched on May 10, 2010. According to its website, it has quickly become the world’s #1 fundraising site for personal causes and life-events. Hundreds of thousands of people have raised over $710M from 8M donors for the things that matter to them most.

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Every fundraising page on FUNDLY has a video and photo gallery that’s front and center. Users add their content from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook or their computer and create an interactive slideshow to showcase their cause.

LifeCrowdfunding powerhouse Indiegogo has stepped into the personal crowdfunding arena with its introduction of Indiegogo Life, which includes medical fund-raising. Cover medical bills and expenses such as hospital stays and childcare needs.