Navigating a lung cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming not only to the patient but to their caregiver as well. It’s normal to feel lost or confused and not know where to start or what resources to ask for. Because a cancer diagnosis is a family diagnosis, LUNGevity wants caregivers to know they don’t have to go through it alone. There are resources available to help caregivers take care of their loved ones as well as themselves. Here are 5 important caregiver resources to help with your loved one’s lung cancer diagnosis.
1) Request a Navigator
A Navigator can be a Social Worker, Nurse, or anyone their healthcare facility has hired to guide patients and their families through their cancer experience. Navigators are a wealth of information as they can help identify financial resources as well as support groups for the patient and their caregivers. The Navigator serves as your point of contact when you have questions or concerns. They can also be a gateway to your physician. Be sure to have your Navigator’s direct line so that you may reach out when you have questions. LUNGevity employs a Care Navigator Social Worker as well as a Nurse Navigator that can assist in connecting you to your facility Navigator if needed, as well as answering any questions you may have. You may reach out to our Support and Survivorship Department at 312-407-6116 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Learn ALL Treatment Options
Beyond surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation ask your doctor about additional options. For patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ask your doctor about biomarker testing that will help find the appropriate targeted therapy and available clinical trials that may be available to your loved one.
3) Request Cancer Benefits Summary from your Insurance Company
It is a normal reaction to want to know how treatment will affect your finances. You may call the number on your insurance card and request your cancer benefits summary so that you may gain knowledge of your deductible, copays, and out-of-pocket expenses. You may also ask for help in interpreting your benefits from your assigned Navigator. Your Navigator will also be able to advise on additional resources that may be available during your treatment. LUNGevity has partnered with Family Reach, a national organization dedicated to removing the financial barriers standing between a cancer patient and their treatment, such as loss of income, out-of-pocket expenses, and socioeconomic factors. Apply for the free Family Reach Financial Treatment Program, and receive a Financial Guidebook for Cancer, as well as financial navigation and planning advice to prepare for the cost of care.
4) Inquire about Transportation Resources
Going back and forth for treatments or participating in clinical trials can be taxing on your finances. Be sure to ask your Navigator about transportation assistance, parking passes, and hotel or lodging accommodations to help fund your trips to the oncologist and/or clinical trials. Be sure to visit LUNGevity’s Caregiver Resource Center to help you find information on many aspects of living with lung cancer, resources in your area, and specific kinds of assistance.
5) Assemble your Tribe
Because cancer can be a family diagnosis, never be afraid to ask for help. It is important to keep in mind that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Make a list of family and friends (and even chores or requests) that you may be able to reach out to for help. Also, be sure to ask your Navigator about support groups available to you and your loved ones. LUNGevity hosts weekly Virtual Meetups for patients, survivors, caregivers, friends, and family members of people with lung cancer to virtually connect face-to-face with others across the country. Whether you are new to your diagnosis or have been navigating the disease for many years, you can find encouragement, valuable information, and true friendship at our Virtual Meetups.
Although there are many resources available for caregivers throughout their cancer experience, these are 5 important ones to access as early as possible in the diagnosis. Knowing what will be available and arming yourself with information will prove to be key in helping to manage your and your loved one’s needs throughout your cancer experience.
Please be sure to visit LUNGevity’s Caregiver Resource Center to learn some additional tips to help you through the caregiver process. You will also be able to download our Caregiver Tip Sheets for more in-depth information to help you navigate your loved one’s lung cancer diagnosis.
Also, be sure to call our free LUNG Cancer HELPline at 844-360-5864 where you can receive referrals to financial assistance resources for needs including pain medication, homecare, childcare, medical supplies, transportation for treatment, and copayment assistance.