Finding Support Services for All Types of Cancer and Needs

Finding Support Services for All Types of Cancer and Needs

A cancer diagnosis brings changes, challenges and new information needs to your life. Fortunately, there are many services and programs available to support you and your family. Support spelled out in blocks in a circle of hands

Your healthcare team (especially social workers and navigators) can be a wealth of information about the resources available. You and your caregivers and family members can also seek out the many services available in your community and virtually.

You may benefit from a support group, a social group, a yoga or meditation class, housekeeping services, physical activity programs (e.g. LiveStrong at the YMCA) or places where you can get help paying for medical care or living expenses. There is something for everyone whether you are ready today, tomorrow or in a few years so take advantage of all the wonderful work that organizations are doing t ohelp those diagnosed with cancer and their friends and family. Cast a wide net to find the exact kind of support you need to help you live your best life with a cancer diagnosis.

Are you a survivor or caregiver? We encourage you to seek out support services and programs near you. Are you a healthcare provider? Take a few minutes to learn about the many resources nationally or in your community that can benefit your patients.

Here are some of the types of support and information we provide in our Bag and Cancer Resource Center. (To explore resources on your own, see tips below.)

  • Contact info for programs that help with practical needs including financial assistance, transportation and lodging.
  • Lists of organizations providing support groups and resources for 14 categories of types of cancer such as blood, breast, brain and lung.
  • Resources for clinical trials, legal rights and supportive care.
  • Specialized help for populations groups such as American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Latino/Latina, LGBTQI+, Black/African Americans and adolescents to young adults.

Sometimes forgotten is the need for social support.  Barbara L. Andersen, PhD at The Ohio State University and Caroline Dorfman, PhD at Duke University wrote The Importance of Social Support for People with Cancer that includes links to other articles such as Six Ways to Support a Friend with Cancer.

Cancer Collaborative of Southern Arizona

Cancer Collaborative of Arizona logoLast month, Bag It Cancer, as part of the Cancer Collaborative of Southern Arizona held an Open House for Healthcare Providers to share with them the numerous services and resources provided by nonprofit organizations in our community to help their patients. The providers who attended were very positive and excited to learn about all the programs available and gathered lots of resources they can share with their patients and their families.

The purpose of the Cancer Collaborative of Arizona (CCA) is to provide a community supporting our common mission – providing resources and support for those dealing with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. 

How to Find Support Services and Programs Near You

  • Ask your healthcare team if they offer support services and programs at their facility, or where you can find them locally.
  • Check with other cancer medical providers in your area. Many serve all patients, no matter where they receive treatment.
  • Contact the national offices of large cancer nonprofits to see if they have a local chapter in your area.
  • Contact local nonprofits that offer programs for your type of cancer.
  • Check with faith-based organizations, local libraries, community centers, and health departments.
  • For seniors, reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging.
  • Ask other people with cancer and their caregivers you meet along the way.


Explore Our Vetted Support Services List

There are many resources and organizations offering cancer information and all types of support for people diagnosed with cancer and those around them. But it can be tricky and take a lot of time to sort through them to find sources that are reliable, and have what you are looking for.
The vetted resource lists on the Resources document at right may have everything you need–or it is a good place to start if you prefer to do your own research. We’ve also added phone numbers if you prefer to call and speak to someone.

Resources Bag It Cancer

Curb Your Cancer Risk:  30-day Checklist of Healthy Choices

Curb Your Cancer Risk: 30-day Checklist of Healthy Choices

Some good news about cancer…

It is estimated that nearly half of cancer deaths worldwide can be prevented, according to recently published medical research. Some cancers are out of our control, but we can make choices about our habits and the way we live to reduce our risk of cancer.  Here are some examples:

  • Don’t use tobacco
  • Protect your skin from the sun
  • Eat a plant-based diet
  • Limit alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy weight and move, move, move
  • Get vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B
  • Practice safer sex and avoid risky behaviors
  • Reduce your exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution

Finally, know your family medical history and share it with your doctors. Most people do not have a family history of cancer so getting the cancer screenings your doctors recommend for your particular situation is important. Early detection can lead to better outcomes.

The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a free 30-day checklist to help you eat well, move more and make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce your cancer risk. Find it here along with other cancer prevention resources.


The Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Cancer Health Check helps you learn more about your choices and how you can stack the odds in your favor.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)  Cancer Causes and Prevention

Prevent Cancer Foundation 

KGUN 9: ‘Bag It’ helps cancer patients navigate the road to recovery

KGUN 9: ‘Bag It’ helps cancer patients navigate the road to recovery

doctor patient bag it bagKGUN 9 News Anchor and Reporter Pat Parris Interviews colon cancer survivor Ingrid Jacobs and Bag It Cancer’s Executive Director Mindy Griffith about the impact the resources in the Bag It Bag have had on cancer patients.  Every month KGUN 9 features a local nonprofit for our Giving Project and Bag It is their charity for the month of February, 2023.

We invite you to make a donation to Bag It at KGUN 9’s Giving Project page. Their partners in the Giving Project, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, will match the first $500 in donations.

Watch and read this wonderful story about our organization.

How Would You Rate Your Healthcare Literacy Skills?

How Would You Rate Your Healthcare Literacy Skills?

Photo of Bag It Bag contents 2022October is Health Literacy Month. A study by Health & Human Services Office of the Surgeon General showed that only about 12% of Americans have proficient health literacy skills. Unfortunately, many adults lack good knowledge about their medical condition and treatment, and don’t know how to get information that is presented in a way they can understand. People report having difficulty completing medical forms and relaying important details to their doctor about their health. They may not be able to accurately read directions to take their medicines as prescribed. Each of these common situations can be linked to poor health outcomes.

Bag It Cancer is committed to expanding health literacy for all populations. Our Bag It Bag is all about making sure that anyone with cancer can find, understand and use reliable information to make decisions about their health and guide them through a complex cancer care system.

For nearly 20 years we have worked with healthcare providers who make it a practice to give Bag It Bags to their patients at diagnosis. Having a bag of printed, clear, easy to understand materials from trustworthy cancer organizations, with customizable tools to make it their own, helps people get involved in their care and feel a bit more in control.


Let’s Start with The Basics in The Bag

  • My Healthcare Team. Knowing who is on your healthcare team and what their role is points you in the right direction for your questions or other assistance.
  • Cancer Words. There’s a short list of definitions for common cancer words, including cancer treatments, that you may not be familiar with but need to know.
  • Lists of Questions to Ask. Asking the right questions at the right time helps you to get the info you need about your care and other areas of your life affected by a cancer diagnosis.
  • Making Treatment Decisions. The bag walks you through what to consider as you make decisions about your treatment and care, including sources for more information about your cancer type and life situations.
  • There’s a Lot to Keep Track of…medical records, appointments, business cards, questions and notes for the doctor, and lots and lots of paperwork. My Companion Guidebook has places for everything plus checklists to simplify the steps.
  • Easy Tips and Hacks to Use Like these:
    • If you’re not sure you understand what is being said to you by your healthcare team, ask for it to be explained again in everyday language (and in your preferred language). Then repeat the information back to the person to make sure you got it right.
    • Bring someone to your appointments to listen and write down the information, or ask permission to record the visit. This will help to ensure accuracy and saves you from trying to remember everything that is said to you. Another idea is to ask for the information to be given to you in writing (and in your preferred language) so you can read it again at home.