A breast cancer diagnosis can cause financial strain for many people and their families. Besides the cost of diagnostic tests and treatments, additional expenses such as childcare and transportation can quickly add up. Also, some people and their caregivers may be unable to continue working and face loss of income, adding to their financial burden.
The following organizations offer assistance with medical and non-medical expenses as well as other types of charitable aid to people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Each organization may have its own eligibility requirements to apply for assistance. These requirements are typically related to treatment status, annual income or proof of financial need, and health insurance coverage. It’s important to check each organization’s website for details before you apply for financial assistance or other types of aid.
Cold caps and scalp cooling systems may help prevent or reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. Some people who are managing hair loss choose to wear wigs. The following non-profit organizations offer financial assistance for wigs, scarves, and other head coverings; cold caps or scalp cooling systems; and more:
Sharsheret has a Face Forward 2.0 program that provides financial subsidies for wigs and cold caps for those who meet their eligibility criteria. Sharsheret also offers education and counseling for people diagnosed with breast cancer.
HairToStay offers need-based grants for scalp cooling treatments for people diagnosed with cancer.
The Fleener Family Foundation arranges for rental packages to provide cold cap therapy to women who are receiving chemotherapy.
EBeauty Community runs a free national wig exchange program for women receiving cancer treatment. EBeauty also has a hospital partnership program where they provide wigs directly to hospitals who donate them to patients.
National Wigs for Cancer Society (NWFCS) provides wigs to people receiving cancer treatment at little to no cost. NWFCS also connects you with a hairstylist who can help you pick a wig and offer advice on how to style and care for your wig.
Good Wishes donates a free cotton wrap or scarf to anyone who has hair loss as a result of cancer treatment.
Pink Heart Funds has a national wig program that sends free wigs to women who have hair loss from cancer treatment.
The Look Good Feel Better Program helps people diagnosed with cancer to manage the possible side effects of treatment that can affect physical appearance and self-esteem. Through free virtual workshops, trained professionals offer advice on managing hair loss, using wigs and other head coverings, and makeup and skin care.
In addition to the resources above, you can contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society to check if they have a program that provides free wigs. You can also contact social workers at your hospital or cancer center to see if they can provide you with a wig or connect you to an organization that can. Some health insurance companies cover the cost of a wig if a doctor prescribes it as a cranial prosthesis or hair prosthesis.
If you are interested in 3D nipple tattoos, the following organizations may be able to help:
Pink Ink Fund gives need-based financial assistance to people who want or need 3D nipple tattooing after a mastectomy.
Sharsheret’s Face Forward 2.0 program also provides financial subsidies for 3D nipple tattooing for those who meet their eligibility criteria.
United Breast Cancer Foundation offers a holistic care grant for financial assistance with nipple tattoos. (The foundation also offers help with nutritional counseling, lymphatic massage therapy, wigs, and breast prosthetics.) The grant is available for people diagnosed with breast cancer and people who are within 10 years of remission.
If you had mastectomy or lumpectomy as part of your cancer treatment, your health insurance provider may offer partial or full coverage for mastectomy bras or a breast form (prosthesis) with a doctor’s prescription. These costs may also be covered by Medicare and Medicaid. It’s important to contact your health insurance company about your coverage and how to submit a claim.
Still, if you need help, including because you are uninsured or underinsured, you may want to check the following organizations:
Pink Warrior Advocates, in partnership with AnaOno, sends comfortable and specially designed bras free to women post-surgery for breast cancer based on financial need.
Knitted Knockers provides free knitted hand-made breast forms for women, which are an alternative to more expensive silicone-based breast forms.
Pink Heart Funds offers breast forms, post-mastectomy bras, and lymphedema sleeves to women who are uninsured or underinsured and have breast cancer.
If you need help with legal advice or any financial matters, the following organizations may be able to help:
Triage Cancer’s Legal and Financial Navigation Program gives free guidance on legal, financial, and other challenges that people diagnosed with cancer or their caregivers might have. The program helps people navigate health insurance, disability insurance, employment, finances, medical decision-making, and estate planning.
The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) provides case management services to people diagnosed with breast cancer and caregivers, helping them access and navigate their care, pay for treatment and living expenses, and help them understand their employment and medical benefits and rights.
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program offers individual counseling and help for navigating Medicare. The program offers guidance on how to enroll, understand your options and compare plans, and learn more about coverage and costs.
Family Reach offers financial education and resources for people with a cancer diagnosis through their Financial Treatment Program. They also provide an emergency relief fund to those eligible to help cover the non-medical costs of care.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition has a searchable database of organizations that provide financial and practical help to people diagnosed with cancer.
The following organizations offer need-based grants that may help with medical and non-medical breast cancer-related costs, including rent or mortgage payments and car payments.
Susan G. Komen’s Komen Financial Assistance Program is available for people who are receiving treatment for breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer. Based on eligibility, the program assists with daily living expenses such as rent, utilities, childcare, or elder care, as well as oral treatment medicines, home healthcare, and medical equipment.
The Pink Fund’s 90-day grant program covers cost of living expenses for people who are in active treatment for breast cancer and who need financial assistance. These expenses could include housing, insurance, transport costs, and utilities.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer Fund provides a need-based, one-time grant ranging from $500 to $1,250 for those who are in active treatment for breast cancer. The grant covers non-medical and cost of living expenses such as mortgage, car payments, car insurance payments, and other utilities.
Breast Cancer Assistance Fund helps cover the non-medical costs of breast cancer treatment through the National Cancer Assistance Foundation.
Expect Miracles Foundation’s Samfund Grants program offers financial grants to young adults between the ages of 21 and 39 with a history of breast cancer. The grants may cover financial assistance with car payments, graduate tuition, reconstructive procedures, fertility preservation, and help with rent or mortgage payments.
Cancer and Careers gives a one-time financial grant of $500 to people receiving treatment for cancer as well as people with a history of cancer to cover living expenses such as utilities, training, and paying bills.
Genevieve’s Helping Hands Charity supports young mothers diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 or younger. Support includes financial aid and caregiver and nutritional assistance. The organization also offers recovery grants that accommodations that may be needed before, during, or after breast cancer treatment. Respite grants are offered to young mothers who have been diagnosed with stage IV cancer to help them take some time off to rest.
United Breast Cancer Foundation’s Individual Grant Program supports people diagnosed with breast cancer or with a history of breast cancer by covering expenses such as medical procedures, prescription medicines, COBRA insurance coverage, housing expenses, utilities, transportation costs, and car insurance payments.
The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) also runs a co-pay relief program for people who are insured and qualify for help with coverage for medical prescriptions and treatments. In addition, the foundation offers a $600 financial grant for people diagnosed with stage III or IV breast cancer to help pay for non-medical expenses.
The following organizations offer various resources for any career-related questions you may have during or after treatment for breast cancer:
Triage Cancer shares information and resources about working through cancer treatment. The organization helps to shed light on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and state laws related to taking time off, unemployment benefits, disability insurance, and disclosing your cancer diagnosis.
Cancer and Careers offers a free review of your resume and personalized feedback from a career coach. They also have a range of educational resources that provide information on looking for a job, interviewing tips, and networking. For those who are currently employed, the organization offers guidance on legal rights at the workplace, including requesting reasonable accommodations, handling discrimination, and returning to work.
If you need help with travel and transportation expenses, the following organizations offer assistance:
Mercy Medical Angels arranges for free transportation for medical care that requires travelling for more than 50 miles. Patients are provided with gas cards, bus and train tickets, as well as accommodations for air travel with commercial airlines or flights flown by volunteer pilots.
The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program helps arrange for a ride to and from medical appointments for people receiving cancer treatment and who may not have access to transportation or are unable to drive themselves.
CancerCare provides financial assistance with transportation for medical appointments for cancer treatment, based on available funding and your eligibility. If sufficient funding is unavailable, CancerCare’s oncology social workers can direct you to other resources that may be able to help.
Good Days travel assistance program finances travel costs for medical treatment for those who need assistance, including help with car rentals, public transport, as well as flights and lodging. Good Days also assists with paying monthly medical insurance premiums, the cost of diagnostic testing, and insurance co-pays.
The following organizations offer free or discounted accommodations for eligible people who have to travel for treatment:
American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge program provides free lodging for people diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers when they need to travel for more than 40 miles or an hour away from home for treatment. Based on certain eligibility requirements, Hope Lodge offers accommodation in more than 30 locations across the United States and Puerto Rico.
Joe’s House helps people diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers find accommodation when they need to travel for treatment. Through their online database, Joe’s House lists options by location, including discounted stay rates.
If you need to fly somewhere to receive treatment and need help with those costs, the following organizations may be able to help:
Corporate Angel Network arranges for free travel on corporate aircrafts to help people diagnosed with cancer receive the best treatment without any financial requirement.
Miracle Flights pays for commercial flight tickets for treatment at medical facilities across the United States.
Angel Flight East, Angel Flight West, Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic, Angel Flight Central, Angel Flight South Central, and Angel Flight Southeast all provide free air transportation to eligible people and their families for medical treatment.
Air Care Alliance uses its network of volunteer pilot groups to arrange for free flights for people who need to travel for medical care, including participation in a clinical trial. Depending on your needs and eligibility, Air Care Alliance connects you directly with a volunteer pilot group.
The following organizations can help connect you with a clinical trial that makes sense for you:
Lazarex Cancer Foundation helps people diagnosed with cancer find the right clinical trial options. The foundation also helps to cover the costs of enrolling in a clinical trial, including travel expenses such as plane tickets, gas, and rental cars, as well as costs of accommodation for eligible people and their caregivers.
National Cancer Institute (NCI), CenterWatch, and ClinicalTrials.gov all provide information about clinical trials for cancer and help you search for an appropriate clinical trial through their online databases.
Learn more about Clinical Trials.
If you need assistance covering costs of breast cancer medicines and treatments, the following organizations may be able to help:
The PAN Foundation offers support to people diagnosed with cancer who need help covering out-of-pocket costs for medicines or treatments.
The Assistance Fund offers financial assistance to eligible people need help covering out-of-pocket treatment costs, including co-pays, health insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance.
Komen Financial Assistance Program offers financial assistance for eligible people who need specific oral medicines for breast cancer.
Read more Tips for Lowering Medicine Costs.
If you are interested in fertility preservation and need assistance with coverage, the following organizations may be able to help:
LIVESTRONG Fertility provides fertility preservation options to people with a history of cancer at an affordable cost and also provides free fertility-related medicines.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals’ Heartbeat Program offers select fertility medicines at no cost to people with a recent cancer diagnosis who are seeking fertility preservation.
Sometimes it helps to connect with others who are living through similar experiences. The following organizations can help you take care of your mental and emotional health and connect you with others who can offer support and advice:
At Breastcancer.org, we offer online support via our discussion boards and virtual community meetups. Join the conversation in our community.
CancerCare offers two free 15-week online support groups for people in active treatment for breast cancer and for those who have completed breast cancer treatment in the past 18 months. The groups are led by an oncology social worker and provide emotional support via a common forum for sharing personal experiences.
Cancer Support Community’s Cancer Support Helpline gives advice as well as emotional support to people diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers. Helpline staff are also available through a live web chat to provide information, answer questions, or to give support.
The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivors Network hosts discussion boards and forums where people diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers can connect with others and share their experiences, ask questions, and offer advice on various topics related to breast cancer.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer runs a Breast Cancer Helpline that matches you with a trained volunteer who has faced a similar diagnosis and can provide emotional support or guidance. Living Beyond Breast Cancer also manages three private Facebook groups that offer support for women of any age diagnosed with breast cancer, support for young women, and a support community for those at high risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer.
Read our Special Report: The Cost of Breast Cancer Care.
Written by: Farida Rangwala, freelance writer
— Last updated on September 29, 2022, 7:46 PM
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