NACES - Resource Contacts
Contacting Organizations for Help and Support

In addition to the support that comes from family and friends, there are many kinds of organizations that help people with cancer.

You can call or email organizations directly for help and support.

Tip: You will find a list of organizations and the type of help they provide in the Resource Branch of the Help and Support Limb. Start by calling the organizations listed under the "Start Here" leaf.

Once you start making calls in your search for resources, it is very hard to remember what organizations you have already called, what you have asked for, who you have spoken with and the things you need to do to follow-up in order to receive assistance.

Tip: Use your "Help and Support" or "Resource" Notebook to keep track of all your calls. See Leaf 3 of this branch for directions on how to set up your notebook.

When calling organizations for assistance, include in your notes:

  • the date and time
  • the name of the organization
  • phone number you called to reach them
  • the name of the person you spoke with
  • if the organization will help you
  • anything further you have to do to receive the help
  • when the help will be provided
  • any other important details you want to remember

Scott Walz (Chippewa)
Dx 1992 Aids /
1995 Rectal Cancer

Scott: "Nobody's going to come running at your door and hand you all this information and say we want to give it to you. Be proactive, be aware of what's there. And go ahead. Don't be afraid to ask. If you're sitting there in your Doctor's office and you don't ask him he can't read your mind. If you've got a lump going somewhere and you don't show it to him he's not going to do a thorough exam"

I: "How can people find these organizations?"

Scott: "On the internet any more, but not everyone has the internet. I think if you go through the local health department or just in the phone book"

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The following points are some helpful hints to help you when you are contacting organizations for help and support of any kind:

  • It is likely that you will find some of the help you need. But you may not get all of the things you need to help you or your family.
  • Do not give up.
  • Keep trying different organizations.
  • A lot of times you or your family must ask again and again for what you need.
  • Finding help often requires making lots of phone calls. Most organizations have "toll-free" numbers for you to call them free of charge. You can tell if a number is free to call, if it starts with a 800, 888, 877, or 866. (For example: the American Cancer Society's toll free number is 1-800-ACS-2345)
  • If you don't have a phone, sometimes your cancer treatment facility, tribal community center or local library will have a phone for use to use to make calls.
  • Sometimes to get help from one of the organizations may be as simple as asking to talk to a different person or calling at a different time.
Tip: Click on the "?" on the sidebar for a list of sample questions you can ask when you contact organizations about getting help.

You can also find out about more organizations and getting help and support from cancer social workers, community health workers, or patient navigators.

Cancer social workers are in almost every cancer clinic. Social workers usually have information about local financial resources that are available in your area. They can provide you with a lot of help and suggest other things that you haven't even realized you need yet.

Sometimes doctors forget to suggest you talk to the social worker. Be sure to ask the doctor about talking with a social worker or patient navigator when you are at the cancer center, hospital or clinic.

When you need help finding resources, call the NACR Patient Advocates on the toll free number 1-800-537-8295. It may take NACR several days to find what you need and we can't always find a source to meet all needs.

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