Transportation and Other Cancer Support Services

Watch: LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Services

A wide range of support services are available to help you, both during and after cancer fighting treatment. See the chart below for some of the common services.

Find Support Services in Your Area

  • Contact your area cancer organization or hospital and speaking with a patient services representative.
  • Search online using keywords and the name of your community. For example, search for "food banks, Austin, TX."
  • Check the listings in the government or business sections of your local telephone directory.
  • Talk with a helping professional such as a social worker or a representative from the Department of Health and Human Services in your area.
  • Call the United Way 2-1-1 telephone helpline ( is available in many areas. This helpline provides free and confidential information and referral with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling resources and more.
  • Contact government agencies such as the National Cancer Institute ( and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

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Support services may include help with air and ground transportation for medical care, emotional support, help with the process of returning to work or financial assistance for child care and other needs. Knowing about support services may help you get through a challenging time when additional expenses create a financial and emotional burden.

How to Find Out About Support Services

Support services are offered by a variety of programs including nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups and government agencies. Many nonprofit organizations will help you find support service programs and apply for benefits at no charge. There is usually no need to pay for services that provide this type of referral or information.

LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Services offers assistance to all cancer survivors, including the person diagnosed, caregivers, family and friends. The program provides education, information about treatment options and new treatments in development, counseling services and assistance with financial, employment or insurance issues.

Other good sources of information about support programs and resources:

  • Family members and friends.
  • Hospital social workers, case managers or other medical team members.
  • Representatives from nonprofit cancer organizations.

Evaluating Support Services Found Online

The Internet can be a good resource for obtaining information related to support service programs. However, you may find that some websites do not clearly identify their sponsors and may be misleading about the sources of information used. See Finding and Evaluating Cancer Support Information for ways to identify trustworthy sources.

Take the following actions if you have serious concerns or bad experiences with any support services obtained online:

  • If an online resource makes false claims about their services and/or products, notify the Federal Trade Commission.
  • If you lose money by using the Internet to make purchases, contact your credit card company, the office of your state attorney general and the Better Business Bureau online.

There are many support services available for those who need them. A member of your health care team, such as a nurse or hospital social worker, may be able to refer you to a government-funded service or a community assistance program. You may also want to ask family, friends or a representative from a cancer organization for assistance.

Starting to Work With a Support Service

Questions to Ask Support Services

  • Are the support services you need available in your geographic area?
  • Are the services are provided through a profit or nonprofit organization?
  • Are there fees for services? One-time or ongoing?
  • Is there are eligibility requirements for participation in the support program

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If you decide to work with a support program, find out when services will start and whether significant delays are common before you will begin receiving the benefits. Ask questions of the support program staff so that you are able to fully understand the services that they provide. Be certain to find out whether there will be a cost to you.

There may be a need to find a way to meet your needs during any waiting period. For example, if you are waiting for the benefits of a child care assistance program to start, you may need to ask a family member or friend to help you for a short time until the benefits go into effect.

Air Transportation for Medical Care
Ground Transportation Non-profits organizations:
  • Patient Advocate Foundation
  • The American Cancer Society
  • Meals on Wheels programs
  • Community transportation service programs vary in different locales. Services range from bus passes and discounts through the mass transit system to taxi vouchers or other types of transport programs. Check with the various transportation services in your area to find out what is available.
  • Faith-based organizations, such as churches or temples, often provide services including transportation assistance. Contact the administrative offices of faith-based organizations to find out what services are offered in your area.
  • Medicaid
Temporary Lodging During Medical Treatment
  • National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses
  • Hospitals or medical centers may have standing arrangements with motels and hotels that are located near the hospital. Each temporary lodging program will have its own rules and criteria to qualify for services. Check directly with members of the medical team, such as a social worker or oncology nurse, for information and suggestions related to lodging assistance during treatment.
  • Nonprofit organizations:
Counseling and Emotional Support Nonprofit organizations
  • LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Services
  • Hospitals or medical center programs provide a wide range of emotional and day-to-day support through social workers and faith-based clergy. Hospital and medical center chaplains can assist you regardless of your personal or faith-based beliefs. Chaplains can be contacted through your hospital or medical center.
Caregiver Assistance
  • State or county Departments of Health and Human Services should be able to tell you what your county and state have to offer in terms of caregiver assistance programs. Contact your local agency for specific information.
  • Hospital and medical center social workers or patient representatives may be able to direct you to programs that work with caregivers in your area. Contact your hospital or medical center for assistance.
  • Nonprofit organizations:
Child Care Financial Assistance
  • Hospitals and medical centers may have programs to provide assistance with child care during medical care of a family member. Contact the social worker or patient representative of the facility.
  • Government programs may help pay for child care through a state or local agency. Money may be available through the child care assistance office in your state. Contact your state or county Department of Health and Human Services for more information.
  • Nonprofit community organizations:
Insurance Assistance
Legal Assistance
Food and Nutrition
  • State or county Departments of Health and Human Services may be able to assist with nutritional programs, such as food stamps and specific programs for women and children. Check with your local Health and Human Services office for more information.
  • Nonprofit food banks are sometimes operated by faith-based groups or other nonprofit organizations.
  • Meals on Wheels
Financial Assistance to Meet Basic Needs
  • Nonprofit organizations:
  • Faith-based organizations may provide services to meet the basic daily needs of people who cannot afford to do so. Services may include help to obtain food and shelter as well as clothing and financial assistance to pay for transportation and other necessities. In addition, some programs offer help with financial planning and job placement. Contact faith-based organizations in your area to find out if such services are available.
  • County and state programs:
  • Federal programs:
  • Labor union programs may provide financial assistance, information and referrals to union members. Some programs operate jointly with a nonprofit organization, such as the United Way. If you belong to a labor union, contact your union representative about assistance that might be available.
Emergency Housing Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Elder Services
  • Area Agency on Aging
  • Nonprofit organizations:
  • Senior discounts are offered by many businesses for a variety of services, ranging from retail discounts to reduced prices for entertainment or eating out. Talk with business representatives in your area to find out if they provide special services or rates for seniors.
Utility Assistance
  • Utility companies often have funds to assist individuals and families with low or fixed-incomes when they are having trouble paying their electric, natural gas or other energy bills. Homeowners, renters and subsidized housing tenants may be eligible. Assistance can include reinstating service that has been shut off for non-payment, financial aid for fuel payments and repair of leaking pipes and broken furnaces. Contact your utility company to find out about services and assistance they offer.
  • Government programs may provide assistance paying for heating or cooling expenses for those who qualify for services. Your state or county Department of Health and Human Services should be able to provide information about programs in your area.
  • National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR)
  • Faith-based organizations may also provide direct services including emergency financial assistance for utilities. Contact your faith-based organization if you need this type of help.
Telephone Assistance
  • Telephone financial assistance programs exist in some areas to help those who have low incomes obtain affordable telephone service. Contact your telephone company to find out if there are programs like this in your area.
  • State or county Departments of Health and Human Services may be able to arrange for temporary financial assistance to pay for basic telephone service charges in situations where there are health care needs. Contact your local agency to find out if this type of help is available.
Tax Preparation Assistance Nonprofit organizations:
Home Maintenance Assistance
  • Nonprofit organizations:
    • Community Action Programs may provide assistance with home maintenance, weatherization and repair for people who have low incomes. Contact the Community Action Program in your area to see if you qualify for assistance.
    • Meals on Wheels
  • Faith-based organizations may have volunteers who are willing to assist people with minor home maintenance tasks. Contact your faith-based organization if you need this type of help.
Support Services for Day-to-Day Needs
  • Nonprofit organizations, including those operated by faith-based organizations, frequently offer a variety of support service programs for people who need them. These may include assistance with lawn work, pet care or light maintenance and repair for your home.
  • LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Services
Job Search Assistance
  • Government-sponsored career and job search assistance programs:
  • Nonprofit organizations:
  • Educational institutions that you have attended may offer job search services for alumni. In addition, many community colleges and vocational schools offer free career counseling and work with local employers and job training partnership programs. Contact post-secondary schools in your area to find out if these types of services are available.
  • Internet job search assistance exists in the form of free informational articles, job listings and resume tips. These resources are available through many organizations, such as website business sponsors, educational institutions and other nonprofit groups.
  • Public libraries have information and resources to help with job searches and resume preparation. In addition, you may be able to find information about prospective employers through the library resources. A librarian can help you find the information you need.
Clothing and Appearance Nonprofit organizations:
Exercise Community centers and local parks offer opportunities to use recreational facilities and to participate in free or low-cost group exercise programs. Contact your Parks and Recreation Department.
Pet Care We All Love Our Pets (WALOP)


Works Cited

"Elders & Families." Administration on Aging. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 16 July 2009.

Landay, David S. Be Prepared: The Complete Financial, Legal and Practical Guide to Living with Cancer, HIV and Other Life-Challenging Conditions. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.

"Use Caution Buying Medical Products Online." FDA Consumer Magazine. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 8 February 2007.

"Find Job & Career Information." U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration. 14 January 2009.

"Finding Help to Pay for Child Care." Child Care and Development Fund Contact Directory. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Child Care Information Center. 5 March 2007.

"Serving Students with Disabilities at the Community College." ERIC Digest. Education Resources Information Center. 9 March 2007.

"The National Financial Resource Guidebook: A State-by-State Directory." Patient Advocate Foundation. October 2009.

"ACF Services." U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children & Families. October 2009.

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