Amidst the major costs of cancer treatment I love hearing about all of the free stuff available for people with lung cancer. We all love finding a good deal, and free is the best deal of all! I am so grateful for the volunteers out there who are dedicated to bringing enouragement, both through notes to cheer and items to make the strain on the pocketbook just a wee bit less.
Sadly, lung cancer lags behind breast cancer when it comes to freebies, but all of the items/resources below are available to people with any form of cancer. Some are only for women, but there are many options for men as well.
1. Free Housecleaning
It can be exhausting to clean your home when you are living with the symptoms of cancer and its treatment. Thankfully, you don't have to do it all alone anymore. Cleaning For A Reason is a service that offers four monthly housecleaning sessions for women undergoing treatment for any kind of cancer. Everyone qualifies -- they don't require any financial information, only a note from your oncologist indicating that you are a cancer patient. This service is available in most areas of the United States and is donated by individual cleaning companies.
2. Free Scarves and Hats
Hair loss from chemotherapy can be traumatic enough emotionally, without the financial burden of purchasing hats and scarves. Several organizations have stepped up to the plate to try and ease that pain.
Francelux has a program called Good Wishes that offers a free scarf (worth $70) or headcover for women undergoing chemotherapy for any type of cancer.
Founded by a 10 year old, Heavenly Hats offers free hats for people who are facing hair loss due to cancer and other medical conditions.
More about chemotherapy induced hair loss:
3. Free Cosmetics and Beauty Consultation
Look Good Feel Better is a program available for women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. In a small group or one-on-one setting, instructors share tips on skin care, makeup application (such as how to apply eyebrows if they are lost during chemotherapy), and tips on wearing scarves and wigs to cope with hair loss.
Men don't need to be left out. The Look Good website also has online information for men that includes tips on caring for your skin, body, hair and mind during cancer treatment.
4. Free Cancer Education Workshops
Studies suggest that learning as much as possible about your cancer may improve your outcome. Yet time is limited during doctors visits, and it's sometimes hard to know where to begin.
CancerCare, a not-for profit organization that provides support for people living with cancer, has many educational workshops that you can listen to in the comfort of your own home. New topics are covered often, and there is an extensive archive of past topics than you can tap into at any time.
Examples of workshops available include stress management tips, coping with cancer pain, managing costs of recovery, finding hope and meaning after treatment, understanding and managing chemotherapy side effects, and many more.
5. Free Totes and More
6. Free Cards and Notes of Support
Chemo Angels is a volunteer organization dedicated to bringing support and cheer to those who are going through chemotherapy for cancer. After completing a form that asks about your particular cancer, interests and hobbies, you will be "adopted" by a Chemo Angel and a Card Angel. These volunteers will then provide encouragement throughout your treatment by sending weekly cards, uplifting notes and small inexpensive gifts.
7. Free Retreats
Getting away from home, either with a loved one or alone with other cancer survivors, can be rejuvenating at times. Many opportunities are available, and in addition the resources listed here, you may want to check with your oncology team about options available near your home.
Camp Mak-A-Dream near Missoula, MT, offers a free retreat (although donations are accepted) for women who are going through or have completed treatment for any type of cancer. These four- to five-day retreats include great food, relaxation, opportunities for recreation, art classes and more.
8. More Free Retreats
Harmony Hill Retreat Center in Union, WA, offers a free, three-day extended cancer retreat to help people find emotional and spiritual healing in the face of their disease. This program also offers the opportunity for a spouse, partner or adult caregiver to attend with you. Included at no cost are healthy meals and the chance to walk among the gardens and trails of the retreat center.
Women Beyond Cancer offers free (a $50 refundable deposit is required) retreats for women living with any form of cancer. Locations and adventures range from yoga in Maine, to exploring Zion National Park in Utah, to horseback riding in South Carolina.
9. More Cancer Freebies
Even if you are living with cancer, preventing other forms of cancer is still important. When your budget is tight due to the costs of cancer treatment, there are resources that may lower the cost of screening for other cancers.
- Free Skin Cancer Screening
- Free and Low Cost Pap Smears
- Free and Low Cost Prescription Drug Programs
- Free and Low Cost Mammograms
National Cancer Institute. Coping With Cancer: Financial, Insurance, and Legal Information. Accessed 09/26/11. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/financial-legal
National Cancer Institute. How to Find Resources in Your Own Community if You Have Cancer. Updated 08/05/05. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Support/resources