When you have been diagnosed with cancer, your mind immediately generates a seemingly-endless series of questions. “Why me?” “How long do I have to live?” “What will happen to my family?” “How did this happen?” These are just a few of the things that will run through your head in the first few days. But after the reality has set in and you and your physician have created a plan, things will settle down and you’ll start getting down to the business of taking care of yourself. This may mean diagnostic tests, doctors’ appointments, surgical or interventional treatments, and medications. You may need to quit working or cut back on your hours, or bring in somebody to help you around the house. Suddenly, the questions that you are asking yourself have much less to do with your health then with your financial well-being, especially after the bills start coming in. How on earth are you going to get financial help for cancer to pay for all of this?
The truth is that medical bills are one of the top reasons behind the majority of bankruptcy filings in the United States. Despite the availability of healthcare and insurance, the cost of treating a catastrophic illness like cancer is still very high. Copays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses can be crushing, and as your illness progresses and you are unable to continue generating income, even the costs of your day-to-day living expenses can become a burden. Cancer patients in Tennessee and their families are often forced to tap their life savings in order to pay their medical bills, sacrificing monies set aside for college tuitions, retirement, and vacations in order to keep their heads above water.
It is a problem that few who aren’t battling cancer themselves can truly understand. The good news is that more and more people are becoming aware of the problem, and there are a number of organizations on both the local and the national level that are working hard to help cancer patients by making financial resources available. It is important that you familiarize yourself with these various resources as early in your cancer journey as possible, and in doing so to get used to the idea that you too will need to ask help. Start by looking into what organizations are available to people in Tennessee who need help, but don’t forget to ask around your personal circle as well. From holding private fundraising events like Beef and Beer parties or 5K runs to seeking assistance from national organizations, every little bit helps. Here are just a few of the many organizations that offer help to cancer patients living in Tennessee.
Financial Help for Cancer Patients in Tennessee
American Cancer Society
584-1668 (Knoxville office) or 800-227-2345
About American Cancer Society: Provides information on different types of cancer, educational material, support services, wigs, and where to find financial information and resources.
McMinn County Area Relief Fund
About McMinn County Area Relief Fund: Provides financial assistance to patients with cancer who live in McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, and Polk Counties.
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
865-692-3666 (Knoxville affiliate) or 800-462-9273
About Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation: Provides funds in various communities to assist women with breast cancer with financial assistance. Contact Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Knoxville Affiliate for contact names and phone numbers.
Fifth Season Financial
About Fifth Season Financial: Fifth Season Financial offer the Funds for Living Program, a financial assistance resource that helps relieve the financial burden experienced by many late-stage cancer patients. Fifth Season’s program provides funds to people living with cancer by using their life insurance policy as collateral. The Funds For Living Program has provided over $115 million in funds to hundreds of families.
About United Way: Located in various communities. Provides financial assistance with bills.
- Anderson County: 865-483-8431
- Blount County: 865-982-2251
- Bradley County: 423-479-2020
- Greene County: 423-639-9361
- Hamblen County: 423-581-8601
- Knox County: 865-523-9131
- McMinn & Meigs County: 423-745-9606
- Monroe County: 423-337-7690
- Roane County: 865-882-7711 ext 24
- Sevier County: 865-453-4261
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC)
About Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition: CFAC is a coalition of financial assistance organizations that have joined forces to help cancer patients experience better health and well-being by limiting their financial challenges. There are 14 member organizations of CFAC, including the American Cancer Society, the Chronic Disease, Fund, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the National Marrow Donor Program, and the Patient Access Network Foundation.
The Colon Cancer Alliance
About The Colon Cancer Alliance: The Colon Cancer Alliance’s Blue Note Fund offers hope and financial assistance to colon cancer patients in need who are currently undergoing treatment.
About FinAid: Scholarships for patients, survivors, children of a cancer patients or survivor, students who lost a parent to cancer and students pursuing careers in cancer treatment.
The Michael H. Flanagan Foundation
About The Michael H. Flanagan Foundation: Our mission is to comfort leukemia and bone marrow transplant patients and their families and to enhance the patients’ quality of life.