Skin Cancer Support Resources
Information. Encouragement. Hope.
Support services give not only information, but also encouragement and hope. The support groups and sources represented here deal with all types of cancers, including melanoma. There are many more than can possibly be listed here. Many cancer centers, hospitals and medical centers maintain support groups for their patients and family members, or suggest places to go. Therefore, it is a good idea to ask your doctor or local hospital whether such a group is available near you.
American Academy of Dermatology
With a membership of more than 20,500, the AAD represents virtually all practicing dermatologists in the U.S., as well as a growing number of international dermatologists. It provides information and educational material on all aspects of melanoma, other skin cancers, and skin care. A “Find a Dermatologist” listing is offered on the website.
American Childhood Cancer Organization
A nationwide organization that offers support and advocacy to families of children with cancer, survivors of childhood cancer, and the professionals who care for them. Informative books are provided free of charge to those with financial constraints.
American Melanoma Foundation
Maintains a support group in San Diego, CA. Advises anyone wanting to start a support group. Gives information about melanoma from screening to staging, including clinical trials that patients may wish to join.
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) / When Seconds Count
When Seconds Count is the public-focused website of the ASA. ASA designed the site to educate patients about anesthesia, pain management and how physician anesthesiologists can help safely and effectively manage pain from surgery, injury or chronic conditions.
Angel Flight East
Facilitates free air transportation to children and adults in need of medical treatment far from home. AFE’s footprint is from Virginia-Ohio-Maine and for destinations beyond that, the organization links up with other volunteer pilot organizations.
Angel Flight West
One of six regional Angel Flight organizations that work with Mercy Medical Airlifts to take patients to health care facilities or distant destinations free of charge.
Cancer Care Inc
A call to the toll-free Cancer Care Counseling Line leads patients, their families, and caregivers to support services in the caller’s area. Individual counseling can be obtained by calling the same number. Information for professionals is also available.
Corporate Angel Network
Space on corporate jets is given free of charge to cancer patients who must travel long distances for treatment.
Hill-Burton Free Hospital Care/Health Resources and Services Administration
Maintains a list of hospitals that offer free or reduced cost hospital care, based on family size and need, and gives information on meeting medical bills that are beyond the patient’s means. Sends out a free care brochure.
Web Site: www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton
Telephone: 1.800.492.0359 (for Maryland residents)
Look Good…Feel Better
This program teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients during and after chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association.
Web Site: www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org
Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America
Health care professionals, parents of children with life-threatening illnesses, or the children themselves can apply. “I want to go. To be. To meet. To have.” Volunteers try to find ways to make these wishes come true free of charge.
Melanoma International Foundation
The phone number is a “patient navigation hotline” to help patients and their families gain a better understanding of the disease and where to go for treatment. Answers to questions and information are offered, mostly via e-mail, to people as far away as China.
Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF)
Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma Seattle Support Group
A flexible, open discussion group, located in Seattle, WA, for anyone touched by MCC (patients, spouses, family and friends). This is an informal opportunity to meet others coping with MCC, share stories and information, answer questions and provide support. They have first hand knowledge and experience to share about treatments, clinical research trials and coping with MCC.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
The US government’s source of information on the latest cancer treatments and clinical trials, as well as insurance, hospice, and home care. Callers to the toll-free number can be referred to community activities and support services. Spanish speakers are available.
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
Survivor-led advocacy organization works exclusively on behalf of the country’s more than nine million cancer survivors and the millions more touched by this disease.
National Family Caregivers Association
A grass roots organization that educates, supports, and speaks out on behalf of caregivers. By raising public awareness, NFCA strives to improve the caregiver’s quality of life.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Provides a list of participating programs where patients can obtain free prescriptions.
Web Site: www.pparx.org
Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation
Dedicated to providing help and hope to underinsured patients who would otherwise be unable to afford high-cost specialty medications. PAN provides financial assistance through nearly 60 disease-specific programs designed to help patients being treated for certain chronic illnesses, rare diseases, and cancers. Financial assistance supports the cost-sharing obligations (i.e., co-pays, deductibles) of patients. Since 2004, PAN has provided nearly $400 million in financial assistance to more than 200,000 patients. Two of PAN’s programs are for patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma and metastatic melanoma.
Web Site: www.PANFoundation.org
Patient Advocate Foundation
Serves as an active liaison between the patient and the insurer, employer, and/or creditors to ensure access to care, maintenance of employment, and reservation of financial stability. Case managers, doctors, and attorneys work through the Foundation.
Vital Options® International
Vital Options International has expanded its mission to become a global health foundation focused on supporting the financial needs of patients and giving patients a voice.
The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology
This group develops and conducts clinical trials with promising new cancer therapies, and utilizes the best science to develop optimal treatment and prevention strategies for cancer, as well as researches methods to alleviate side effects of cancer and cancer treatments.
The Wellness Community/Cancer Support Community/Gilda’s Club Worldwide
Twenty “communities” nationwide provide emotional counsel and education to cancer patients and their loved ones. Professionally led support groups reduce feelings of isolation and restore hope — regardless of the stage of disease.