Ten Tips to Maintain Financial Health During and After Cancer

Ten Tips to Maintain Financial Health During and After Cancer

Ten Tips to Maintain Financial Health During and After Cancer

  1. Have a conversation with your health care team about your treatment plan and the expected cost. Talk to your doctor about how cancer treatment could affect your ability to work.
  2. Understand your health insurance coverage. It is vital that you pay your health insurance premiums on time and in full. If you don’t have health insurance, immediately find out if you can obtain a policy or if you qualify for Medicaid.
  3. Meet early with your oncology social worker, navigator or advocate, and be candid about any financial difficulties and other needs you have. They are there to help you manage your cancer care costs.
  4. Be informed about your legal rights and all benefits available to you through your employer: disability insurance, accommodations in your job duties, hours/leave time. Your spouse should do the same with their employer.
  5. Prepare a budget. Organize and keep track of your bills. Verify insurance benefits are correctly applied. (Ask a trusted family member or friend to help you with this.) Appeal insurance claim denials. (Ask a member of your health care team to help with this.)
  6. If you are experiencing financial hardship, explain your situation to creditors and medical providers and ask for their help. You may be able to negotiate a discount or more time to pay your bills.
  7. Tap into the expertise of nonprofits in the cancer community. They can help you navigate resources and find assistance with costs related to treatment, co-payments, prescription drugs, basic needs, transportation, childcare as well as insurance matters and other support services. They can often help you apply. Several organization offer free services from their navigators and social workers: CancerCare, Livestrong, PAN, CSC, CancerCare pub
  8. Look into federal and other programs in your state that can help cover expenses and replace income if you can’t work during and after treatment. Apply quickly if you are eligible for benefits.
  9. Consider other of income: retirement accounts, available credit, personal loan, cashing in life insurance policy, sale of real estate or personal property.
  10. The financial burden of cancer can impact your physical and mental well-being. Asking for help can be hard but allowing others to lend a hand alleviates stress for you and your loved ones and lets your focus on your recovery.


What are you grateful for today? November is a time to reflect more closely on the year (as December just gets crazy) and be thankful for what we have. Yes, these are things we should be doing every day but November is a great time to get started if you haven’t been practicing gratitude regularly.

Gratitude is appreciating what you have and noticing the good (even small things!) in your life – with or without a cancer diagnosis. Gratitude can help ground you and get in touch with what you are feeling at that moment. That old cliché “stop and smell the roses or the fall leaves or the snow” can have some real physical and mental benefits for your well-being.

People tend to be happier, have more positive emotions and greater self-esteem when practicing gratitude. Physically, it can reduce depression symptoms, enhance your sleep, and increase your exercise which leads to other health benefits.

While it can be difficult to be thankful for anything when you or someone you care about is dealing with cancer, receiving care from a compassion and dedicated healthcare team is definitely something to be grateful for. Gratitude can actually increase your resilience, help you find the joy along the way, and even ease the fear of recurrence.

There are many ways to practice gratitude so don’t think about it being another daunting task on your to do list, it can be as simple or complex as you like – make it work for you! As you start to think about what you are grateful for you can instantly feel a change in your attitude and the more you do it the more you will experience the benefits. It’s not difficult and below are some simple ways to get you started today.

  • Think: At some point in the day take a moment and identify 1-3 things you are grateful for, or try a guided meditation to help focus on the present. (I love my job, but I also love my family and need to put them first.)
  • Write: Start a journal and be specific (I’m thankful my loved one could take time from work to go with me to my appointment) or put slips of paper in a jar throughout the day, download a calendar and jot them down. Send a note to someone telling them why you are grateful for them.
  • Visual: Take photos of things you are grateful for or cut pictures out of a magazine. (The flowers/balloons in the infusion room brought a smile to everyone’s face.)

However you decide to practice gratitude, make it yours and practice it regularly so it becomes second nature to you and then reap the emotional, social, health, and personal benefits. As you begin treatment, finish treatment, head to an appointment, support a friend or loved one remember to find something to be grateful for despite the challenging feelings you may have at that moment and hopefully that will brighten your day (or at least that moment) a little.We are grateful for all those who believe in the Bag It bag and provide it to patients, friends, loved ones, or themselves and hope that you feel supported and empowered.

Here are some additional resources to help you get started today!

Ted Talks Practice Gratitude Gratefulness



We’re excited to announce that the Spanish version of the new Bag It bag is now available. Each printed booklet and the entire contents of My Companion Guidebook (Mi guía acompañante), including the forms, instructions, and glossary, have been professionally translated into neutral Spanish to be easily understood by all Spanish speakers. This is especially important as Bag It expands distribution across the country this year.
See it here

Wait – there’s more!

Check out the Resource Center on our website for a list of Spanish resources covering many cancer-related topics such as information about cancer types and treatment, coping with side effects of cancer treatment, emotional support for families, communicating with children, nutrition and eating tips, complementary and integrative medicine, legal rights, financial assistance, cancer survivorship, and more.

Order a bag today


Estamos muy contentos de anunciar que la versión del bolso Bag It en español ya está disponible. Cada carpeta publicada y el contenido completo de My Companion Guidebook (Mi Guía Acompañante), incluso los formularios, las instrucciones, y el glosario, han sido traducidos profesionalmente al español neutral para que cualquier hispanohablante pueda enterderlos fácilmente. Esto es especialmente importante debido a que este año, Bag It expandirá su distribución por todo el país. Véase aquí


Pero espere… ¡Hay más!


Revise el Centro de Recursos en nuestra página web para obtener una lista de recursos en español que cubren una variedad de temas relacionados con el cáncer, tales como información sobre los tipos de cáncer y sus tratamientos, cómo enfrentar los efectos secundarios del tratamiento contra el cáncer, cómo obtener apoyo emocional para familias, cómo hablar con los niños sobre estos temas, sugerencias sobre la nutrición y la alimentación, la medicina natural e integral, los derechos legales, asistencia económica, la sobrevivencia del cáncer, y mucho más.


Ordene su bolso de Bag It

Is there a doctor (Google) in the house?

Is there a doctor (Google) in the house?

Is there a doctor (Google) in the house?

Most of us immediately want to search online when facing a cancer diagnosis. The internet can be a good source of reliable and helpful information. At the same time, unfortunately, fake medical news and misinformation spreads further than the truth – and can lead to serious consequences.

Best Practices for Internet Research:

  • First ask your health care team for trusted websites they recommend for you.
  • Visit Bag It’s resource center to find over 150 resources on all cancer topics.
  • Websites from these organizations are generally reliable:
    • Government agencies (web address ends .gov)
    • Major cancer centers (web address often ends .org)
    • Medical schools and universities (web address ends .edu)
    • Large nonprofit organizations (web address ends .org)
  • Look for easy-to-read information written by medical professionals.
  • Check more than one source for the same information to verify that the results are the same.

Things to consider when evaluating a website:

  • Be critical – is the content objective and free of opinion?
  • Who sponsors the site and its content? Who wrote the content and what are their credentials? Who approved it? Reading the “About Us” and “Who We Are” pages can be insightful.
  • What is the source of the information presented? Particularly if scientific in nature, was the content written within the last three years and is it supported by the scientific literature?
  • Be aware that information on sponsored websites or .com websites may be biased or have a conflict of interest, though the information could still be reliable (such as a drug company’s site)
  • Think carefully before sharing personal/health information in online communities. Does the community safeguard your privacy? Refer to the privacy policy, if any.

Remember that the internet is not a substitute for professional medical care and advice. Discuss any information you find with your health care team to help you determine if it is right for you.