Cancer Care

Natalia Becsak, Staff Writer

In 1944, a small group of New Yorkers founded a non-profit organization called CancerCare, an institution designed to help people whose lives have been affected by cancer by supplying them with financial assistance, emotional support, and knowledge on their situation.  

In terms of financial aid, CancerCare provides families with money for home and child care, as well as transportation to and from appointments.  Additionally, they help those who cannot afford the medicine or treatments necessary for their condition by paying part of the cost.  

“CancerCare helped me out with medical bills that I had to pay, along with the transportation to vision therapy.  If it wasn’t for that I don’t know what I would have done,” read a post on the CancerCare website from a mother whose son was diagnosed with brain cancer.  

CancerCare also offers cancer patients the opportunity to talk to a certified oncology social worker to discuss the complexities of their condition, as well as finding good resources for treatments.  Patients have the alternative option to call in to the organization’s counseling hotline—referred to as Hopeline—where they are able to confer with oncologists for free.  

“Cancer can be very isolating and overwhelming because you sometimes feel the need to protect your family from your fears and worries about your future; so it’s good to have a place to have your feelings validated,” said Schreiber psychologist Dr. Joan Bester.   

Most importantly, this institution enables patients to join support groups that converse online, in person, or through a telephone call.  Every support group is open to all ages, but each one specifically focuses on dealing with one type of cancer.  This allows those who are in similar situations to discuss how to understand their condition, and how to accept it.  

“Talking through life after cancer with a group of people going through the same thing was hugely helpful.  It didn’t make the problems go away, but it was a relief to know we weren’t alone in our experiences,” read an online post from a breast cancer survivor.  

Services of CancerCare have been offered to several Port Washington residents who have been affected by cancer for decades.  For the past forty years, The Port Washington Chapter of CancerCare has held an annual theater production called The Red Stocking Revue to raise money for the national organization of CancerCare.  On the first day of February, an online support group, being led by an oncologist, commenced.  The purpose of this 15-week long program is to support those who have not been exposed to any treatment for the past two years, and to exchange resources and other useful information.  

CancerCare helps approximately 180,000 people cope with the affect that cancer has on their lives every year.  This past year, due to the helpfulness of CancerCare, 65% more people felt emotionally healthy after attending support groups, and meeting with their counselors (15% to 80%).