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Missed Cancer Screenings in 2020

Studies reveal over 22 million people missed cancer screening appointments due to pandemic

As National Cancer Prevention Month draws to a close, we want to highlight important topics and information surrounding cancer prevention. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to millions of missed annual cancer screenings – read on to learn more about what you can do to care and advocate for yourself. At the end of the post, watch our educational presentations published in February that focus on topics related to cancer prevention.

Nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic caused Cancer Support Community North Texas (CSCNT) – the leading nonprofit providing free emotional and social support to cancer patients and their families – to pivot entirely to virtual support and programming, new cancer screening studies and a comprehensive impact of COVID-19 study by national Cancer Support Community (CSC), point to a glaring need for more cancer patient support in the year ahead due to delayed diagnoses and treatments.

According to the studies – all revealing similar data – cancer screenings of the breast, colon, and cervix were down between 86-94% in March 2020 and screenings still remained 29-35% lower than pre-COVID levels by June 2020. Another more recent study (Oct. 2020) found that an estimated 22 million people had missed or cancelled their cancer screening appointments due to COVID-19 concerns.

Additionally, results of national CSC’s recent COVID-19 impact study of more than 500 cancer patients revealed that:

  • 52% indicated that COVID-19 has very or somewhat negatively affected their ability to get needed health care
  • 40% experienced a disruption to their cancer-related health care because of COVID-19
  • 46% are somewhat, very, or extremely concerned about diagnostic tests being delayed or cancelled

“These numbers are staggering – and yet not surprising,” said CEO Mirchelle Louis of Cancer Support Community North Texas. “We’ve supported thousands of people along their cancer journey with significant fear of COVID-19 this year and expect that number to only increase in 2021 as people begin venturing back out and getting their screenings and treatments. Our message to cancer patients and their families: Please lean on us and take care of yourselves!”

5 Things You Can Do

Louis says there are 5 things every cancer patient – newly diagnosed or in treatment – can immediately do to take stock and ensure their mental and physical health is Priority #1:

  1. Don’t miss your appointments and follow-ups – staying on top of these is crucially important and will also decrease anxiety and help preserve mental health
  2. Seek out emotional and mental health support to accompany medical treatment – let CSCNT and others help
  3. Dig deep into your nutrition – certain foods, like mushrooms and green leafy vegetables, have shown to greatly reduce cancer risk and boost immunity
  4. Contact the Cancer Support Hotline with questions – anxiety and “the unknown” is affecting everyone right now, and cancer patients even more, this free hotline connects callers with support all week long
  5. Take small health and wellness steps – meditation, yoga, gentle exercise are all proven to help the mind and body during a cancer journey

“I love CSCNT and owe it so much. I don’t think I would’ve made it through cancer or COVID-19 without it. When I’m with others facing the same situation, I’m not alone. If I didn’t have art and [emotional support] during my cancer, I would’ve had more anxiety and lacked the feeling of accomplishing something each day. Art is restful and healing – and it gives you something to look forward to,” said Fay Caldwell, a three-time cancer survivor and long-time member of CSCNT.

According to Louis, after suspending in-person services at the organization’s three clubhouses in Dallas, Collin and Tarrant counties on March 13, 2020, CSCNT accelerated its plan to move everything virtual not knowing how comfortable cancer patients and their families would be. “The more than 70,000 visits and views since the beginning of the pandemic say everything,” she said.

Louis says the organization will continue to expand and evolve programming to meet the need of its more than 5,000 members (membership is free to anyone who simply signs up indicating they need support.) “Our mission is to ensure cancer patients and their families get all of the support they need.”

Learn more about becoming a member of Cancer Support Community North Texas here!

Cancer Prevention Presentations

Throughout February, Cancer Support Community North Texas hosted several educational presentations focused on topics related to cancer prevention. Learn more about the steps you can take to prevent cancer in the following videos.

Nutrition & Cancer Prevention

Brush up on facts and myths about cancer prevention including sugar, soy, and alkaline diets from Tuesday Brooks, MBA, RDN, LD, and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and online cancer dietitian.

Disparities in African American Women with Breast Cancer

Learn about the disparities in breast cancer that exist among African American women as compared to other groups. Lucy B. Wallace, M.D., Breast Surgical Oncologist and Co-medical Director of the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Center at Baylor’s Sammons Cancer Center, discusses current screening recommendations for African American women in high-risk categories as well as risk reduction strategies.

See our full calendar of events, here.

T’ai Chi for Your Life

By: Ron Smith

Hard for me to believe, but we are now well into the third year of T’ai Chi and Qigong classes with the Cancer Support Community, having started in April 2018.  When we were actually in the Tarrant Clubhouse, students asked me a lot of questions like:  how did you start doing this stuff, what is T’ai Chi (or Taiji) and what is Qigong?  Now that we have been doing video/remote classes for a while, I miss the dialogue and the Q & A.  So, I jumped right on the offer to provide some material to inform and perhaps prompt discussion.

How and why did you start doing this?

A picture of Ron Smith who teaches T'ai Chi for Your Life at Cancer Support Community North Texas

In 1998, my family and I were living in Brussels, Belgium and I had just retired from the US Air Force to take a demanding and stressful position with NATO.  My wife and daughter had started taking T’ai Chi lessons on the advice of one of my daughter’s teachers.  They (who had been enduring my stress on a daily basis) suggested that I attend a class with them.  So, I went and was introduced to Master Li Changduo and Madame Hu Yang.

Master Li and Madam Hu had come to Belgium to do research at the University of Leuven.  Jesuit missionaries had gone to China in the 16th century and brought back with them a trove of documents in Chinese.  Many of these documents were rare, as most other copies had been destroyed over the centuries, in various conflicts and suppression of certain types of knowledge.  Master Li studied Wushu (martial arts) for many years and he won national championships in Beijing in both 1980 and 1981 along with a well-known contemporary martial artist and movie star – Jet Li (no relation).

Madam Hu Yang told me she did not study martial arts as a child (in the 1960s), because if you learned family martial arts secrets and married outside your family those secrets might be revealed to outsiders.  She learned her skills later at university and from Master Li.

Their classes appealed to me immediately. 

We learned how to warm up and loosen the body with exercises like the Ba Duan Jin, or 8 Pieces of Brocade that I still teach today in my classes.  We learned some fundamental Qigong techniques.

What is Qigong?

Qi is your vital life energy and gong means the cultivation or development of something; thus, practicing Qigong is the cultivation of your vital energy.  Qigong practices date back thousands of years.  In the US, Qigong (pronounced “chee gong”) is considered alternative medicine, but in China Qigong is an integral part of their health system.

How do we get Qi?

Well, some Qi is in our bodies from birth. More Qi enters our bodies through breath, food and drink, and through our skin; especially at certain gateways associated with acupuncture. We will cover some of those special gateways in class this year.

According to a book I recently read, there are over 10,000 different Qigong forms/sets of exercises.  I teach a few of the forms that I feel are the most useful and interesting:  especially Soaring Crane Qigong and the Five Animal Frolics along with the 8 Pieces of Brocade.

Other effective Qigong exercises are Clearing the Small Universe, the Microcosmic Orbit, Organ Strengthening Exercises, The Secret Smile, Boosting Your Wei Qi (protective Qi), Shaolin Finger Bending, Eight Sublime Channels meditation and Zhan Zhuang, which can be translated as Standing Like a Tree.  Qigong is the great-great-great-great-great grandmother of Taiji.

What is T’ai Chi?

The full name of this art is T’ai Chi Quan (pronounced “tie-jhee-chwan”).  The more current way of spelling it is Taijiquan, but I also use T’ai Chi because this spelling is more popular in the USA. Literally translated it means something like:  Supreme Ultimate Fighting or Boundless Fist.  Taijiquan is a Chinese martial art that has a documented 400-year history and some Chinese authors say Taijiquan was practiced over one thousand years ago. So, it has old roots. We use the shorter term T’ai Chi/Taiji to refer to practice with emphasis on movement and little or no emphasis on combat.

There are five major family styles: Chen, Yang, Wu, Hao and Sun.  I teach mainly Yang family style, which is the second oldest Taiji style.

Taiji is characteristically slow, flowing and graceful.  It combines Nature, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Martial Arts.  What do we mean by that?  Well, briefly, a lot of the movements used in Taiji, and Qigong for that matter, have animal names and come from observing the behavior of animals.  Traditional Chinese Medicine comes into play with the flow of Qi and breathing.  These first two parts are employed to enhance defensive and offensive moves that we call applications.

In my classes, we focus on the aspects of gentle movement, physical and mental exercise and Qi (energy) flow.  There isn’t really that much difference between Taiji and Qigong, except your intent.

Join Ron live Tuesdays at 10am, either on Zoom or Facebook, to try out one of his T’ai Chi and Qigong classes! You can find our full calendar of events, here, and you can learn more about Cancer Support Community North Texas, here.

Holiday Sides & Sweets

This year, the circumstances we’re in have changed the way we celebrate holidays and special occasions. The CDC has cautioned against holiday travel and large gatherings, and these restrictions have changed the way many families and friend groups will be celebrating (see the CDC holiday guidelines here). If your celebration looks different this year, try leaning in to the change and creating a new tradition! If you’re not serving your usual Thanksgiving feast, have some extra time, and want to try something new, try making a recipe from our Holiday Sides & Sweets series running on our Facebook Page this week.

Three of our presenters have provided recipes that are either healthy versions of classic Thanksgiving and holiday favorites or new recipes that you can add to your holiday table! We hope you will give them a try and that you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! You can download a pdf with the full recipes here:

Our first recipe comes from Dana Gerard with diginwithdana.com (learn more about each of our recipe contributors in the Holiday Sides & Sweets pdf). Dana has created a delicious walnut, date, and arugula salad with a basic lemon vinaigrette. This salad is an easy and light addition to any holiday meal. Feel free to customize this salad with your favorite combination of herbs. You won’t regret adding this colorful salad to your traditional favorites!

Our next recipe comes from Tuesday Brooks, MBA, RDN, LD. Tuesday is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and online cancer dietitian. Tuesday has put a healthy twist on a traditional holiday favorite: green bean casserole!

Our first dessert recipe in the series! Dana Gerard has created a crustless pumpkin pie for a lighter take on a traditional favorite! This pie can be served with whipped cream and cookies like gingersnaps or Nilla wafers or enjoyed on its own!

Dana shares a fast and easy yeast roll recipe that yields delicious rolls in about an hour! This recipe can be easily converted into a vegan side that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Check our Facebook Page on Wednesday, November 25th at 12pm for the video. Or download the pdf above to see the full recipe now!

If you’re looking for a delicious and colorful side, this recipe is for you! Tuesday Brooks provides a recipe for roasted brussels sprouts, cinnamon butternut squash, pecans, and cranberries that will make for a great Thanksgiving side!

Check our Facebook Page on Thursday, November 26th at 12:30pm for the video. Or download the pdf above to see the full recipe now!

Next up is a dessert that will give your oven a break! Tuesday provides the recipe for a crustless apple pie that you can prepare in a slow cooker. You can serve this with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or enjoy it by itself!

Check our Facebook Page on Thursday, November 26th at 1pm for the video. Or download the pdf above to see the full recipe now!

Dana is back with an incredibly easy dessert that will be the perfect addition to your holiday meal! These almond crackle cookies are only three ingredients and take 30 minutes total! These cookies are great for beginning bakers or to make with children.

Check our Facebook Page on Friday, November 27th at 10am for the video. Or download the pdf above to see the full recipe now!

Our final recipe comes from Rafia Heerji with honeylemonginger.com. In this video, Rafia makes an Indian dessert called Quinoa Laapsi. Laapsi is a Rajasthani sweet dish a very popular Indian dessert that is delicious and healthy. It is very common in the northern parts of India especially Gujrat. If you’re looking for a new dessert to add to your holiday meal, this quinoa laapsi is the recipe for you!

Check our Facebook Page on Friday, November 27th at 12pm for the video. Or download the pdf above to see the full recipe now!

Thanksgiving Crafts

An image with a graphic of a pinecone turkey and words that say "Thanksgiving Crafts with CSCNT"

Happy Thanksgiving! However you are planning to celebrate this year, we hope these Thanksgiving crafts are a fun addition to your holiday. Check back each week for a new craft from the staff at Cancer Support Community North Texas.

Pinecone Turkey Decoration

This turkey craft is cute by itself or as an added decoration to your Thanksgiving table! You can watch a tutorial on our Facebook Page.

Supplies Needed:
1. Pinecones (rounder are better)
2. Feathers (or felt cut into feather shapes)
3. Felt (yellow and red)
4. Pom-poms (yellow)
5. Googly eyes or buttons
6. Scissors
7. Glue gun
8. Glue sticks

Step 1:
Lay the pinecone on its side so it sits steadily on a flat surface and doesn’t roll around. Start prepping the feathers to go in the back of the pinecone by making a little cut through the shaft of the feather, about halfway up.

Step 2:
Arrange the feathers in between the pinecone scales, varying the colors as you go. Make sure the feathers are cut to a good length so they’re not too tall for the pinecone. If the feathers are a little long, just trim them down to the size that you want.

Step 3:
Keep going, row by row, until you are happy with how the feathers are placed. Once you’re happy with how they look, take them out and use a glue gun to place a small dab of hot glue at the bottom of each feather. Quickly and carefully place the feather back in its place on the pinecone. Use a toothpick to help you get the feather into place before the glue dries without burning your fingers! When you’re finished gluing the larger feathers to the back of the pinecone, start trimming the feathers that you will glue towards the front of the pinecone. The feathers should gradually taper in length, getting shorter towards the face of the turkey.

Step 4:
Once you have the pinecone filled in with feathers, start making the turkey face! Grab a pom-pom and glue on some googly. Next, cut a small triangle out of a piece of scrap orange felt for the beak, then cut a wattle out of red felt. The wattle is skewed teardrop shape – rounded at the bottom with a thinner point at the top. Your beak and wattle don’t have to be perfect – this will make each turkey unique! Glue the wattle to the pom-pom, then glue the beak on top of the wattle to finish the face

Step 5:
Glue your turkey face to your pinecone and decorate your house with some fun Thanksgiving decorations!

A table with Thanksgiving decorations and a pinecone turkey craft. Words that say Happy Thanksgiving!
These turkeys look cute by themselves or as an added decoration to your Thanksgiving table.

Learn more about Noogieland – our support program for kids and teens – here.

Open Enrollment

An image encouraging you to check out our Cancer Resource Specialist's tips and suggestions for looking at new health insurance plans during open enrollment!
Check out our Cancer Resource Specialist’s tips and suggestions for looking at new health insurance plans.

By: Patricia Callahan, LMSW, Cancer Resource Specialist at Cancer Support Community North Texas

Open Enrollment is here. Now is a great time to compare plans to determine your potential medical expenses for the coming year. Below are some tips and suggestions when looking at the new plans for 2021.

1. How to understand the basics of an insurance plan.

a. Insurance can be very complex. Understanding how your insurance plan works is incredibly important. Triage Cancer is a great site to view animated short videos on how insurance works.
b. Triage Cancer-Animated Videos

2. Will you still be in treatment for cancer in 2021?

a. Look at the out of pocket expenses of all plans to see what your potential expenses might be. The longer you are in treatment the more likely you will reach your out of pocket max.

3. HSA/FSA Accounts? Yes, this money does come out of your check but it can be a great way to access money pretax to pay your medical bills.

4. Affordable Health Care Plans

a. Open Enrollment dates November 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020.
b. Make sure that once you have selected your plan you call the clinics to ensure that the plan is IN NETWORK for ALL of the doctors you want to maintain.

5. Medicare

a. Open Enrollment: October 15- December 7.
b. Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare or vice versa.
c. Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
d. Switch from one Part D prescription plan to another. It is highly recommended that all beneficiaries use Medicare’s plan finder tool each year to compare the available Part D plans, as opposed to simply letting an existing drug plan auto-renew.
e. Join a Medicare Part D plan (late-enrollment penalty might apply).
f. Drop your Part D coverage altogether (re-enrolling in a later year will include a late-enrollment penalty if you’re not maintaining other creditable drug coverage).
g. If you want to shop around with plans or have questions a good place to start is with your local Area Agency on Aging. They have certified navigators that can help you understand the health insurance plans. They can also help you determine if you qualify for any extra help programs.
– Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging: (817) 258-8125
– Dallas County Area Agency on Aging: (214) 871-5065
– North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging: (800) 272-3921

6. For more information on Open Enrollment, please see:

a. Tips about the Health Insurance Marketplace
b. The Medicare Open Enrollment 2021 Guide

To set up an appointment with our Cancer Resource Specialist, email pcallahan@cancersupporttexas.org or call 214-345-8428. Find more resources here.


Inscripción Abierta

La inscripción abierta está aquí. Ahora es un buen momento para comparar los planes para determinar sus posibles gastos médicos para el próximo año. A continuación se presentan algunos consejos y sugerencias al examinar los nuevos planes para 2021.

1. Cómo entender los conceptos básicos de un plan de seguro.

a. El seguro puede ser muy complejo. Comprender cómo funciona su plan de seguro es increíblemente importante. Triage Cancer es un gran sitio para ver videos cortos animados sobre cómo funciona el seguro
b. Videos Animados de Triage Cancer (para ver los subtítulos en español, haga clic en el botón “cc” en el video)

2. ¿Todavía estarás en tratamiento para el cáncer en 2021?

a. Mire a los máximo de gastos de su propio bolsillo de todos los planes para ver cuáles podrían ser sus posibles gastos. Si usted va a estar en tratamiento por un tiempo, es probable que alcance su máximo de gastos de su propio bolsillo

3. Cuentas de HSA / FSA? Sí, este dinero sale de su cheque, pero puede ser una gran manera de acceder al dinero antes de impuestos para pagar sus facturas médicas.

4. Planes de Affordable HealthCare

a. Fechas de inscripción abierta son el1 de noviembre de 2020 al 15 de diciembre de 2020
b. Asegúrese de que una vez que haya seleccionado su plan de llamar a las clínicas para asegurarse que el plan está EN LA RED para TODOS los médicos que desea mantener.

5. Medicare

a. Fechas de inscripción abierta: del 15 de octubre al 7 de diciembre.
b. Cambie de Medicare Advantage a Medicare Original o viceversa.
c. Cambie de un plan Medicare Advantage a otro.
d. Cambie de un plan de medicamentos recetados de la Parte D a otro. Se recomienda encarecidamente que todos los beneficiarios utilicen la herramienta de búsqueda de planes de Medicare cada año para comparar los planes de la Parte D disponibles, en lugar de simplemente permitir que un plan de medicamentos existente se renueve automáticamente.
e. Inscríbase en un plan de la Parte D de Medicare. (Es posible que se aplique una multa por inscripción tardía).
f. Elimine su cobertura de la Parte D por completo. (La reinscripción en un año posterior incluirá una multa por inscripción tardía si no mantiene otra cobertura de medicamentos acreditable).
g. Si tiene preguntas, un buen lugar para comenzar es con su Agencia de Área local sobre el Envejecimiento. Ellos tienen navegadores certificados que pueden ayudarle a entender los planes de seguro de salud. También pueden ayudarle a determinar si califica para cualquier programa de ayuda adicional
– Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging: (817) 258-8125
– Dallas County Area Agency on Aging: (214) 871-5065
– North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging: (800) 272-3921

6. Para obtener más información sobre la inscripción abierta, consulte:

a. Consejos acerca del Mercado de Seguros Médicos
b. Su guía para la inscripción abierta de Medicare para 2021: 12 consejos para obtener una excelente cobertura

6 Quarantine-Safe, Kid-Friendly Halloween Activities in DFW

An image with the words quarantine safe Halloween activities that you can do with your kids. Spiderwebs and jack o'lanterns.

Are you looking for some fun activities this Halloween, but want to stay safe? We have a list of 6 fun activities that you can do with your kids at home or from the safety of your car.

Please review the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations and considerations for staying safe and limiting the spread of COVID-19 during holiday celebrations before planning to participate in any of these activities.

1. Go See Luke’s Lawn

Price: Free
When: Anytime

Every year at Halloween, 14-year-old Luke decorates his lawn with a menagerie of spooky characters that literally fills up his ENTIRE front yard! Because of his superb decorations, his home in Highland Park is now a destination for Highland Park buggies, and traffic down his street is nonstop from October through the New Year (yes, there are set changes and this is an activity you can add to your quarantine-safe holiday activities, too!). Stay in your car as you drive through Highland Park and add this to your list of quarantine-safe Halloween fun.

In honor of his grandfather who died suddenly from pancreatic cancer earlier this year, Luke is dedicating his yard art to help raise funds for Cancer Support Community North Texas, whose mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. If you would like to donate to Luke’s fundraiser, you can do so here: LukesLawn.org

2. Try Making Some Fall Crafts & Recipes

Price: Free
When: Anytime

We have posted some fun activities on our Facebook page. You can check out these videos to learn how to make a fun fall craft or tasty pumpkin treats.

Let’s Make Origami Pumpkins – This origami craft is perfect for both adults and children: it starts out as mental challenge then, once you’ve mastered the folds, is a relaxing activity. Make several pumpkins to create a garland to decorate your house just in time for cooler weather! This craft only requires a few supplies that you might already have at home: paper (you don’t need origami paper, but thinner paper is easiest to work with), scissors, glue or tape, and string if you want to make a garland.

Let’s Make Pumpkin Bars – Are you looking for a healthier option for pumpkin spice and everything nice? Try out these gluten-free and paleo friendly pumpkin bars. They are the perfect addition to your healthy holiday table!

3. Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

Price: Free
When: Anytime

Instead of going door-to-door to trick-or-treat, take a walk through your neighborhood – or you can drive – and do a Halloween scavenger hunt. You can sit down and write out what you expect or want to find and look for those items, or you can print a Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt that you find online!

4. Candy Caravan at Dallas Heritage Village

Price: Free
When: Oct. 31st from 12-3pm

Join the City of Dallas for a contact-free, drive-thru “candy caravan” this Halloween. Decorate your car, put on your Halloween costumes, caravan through Dallas Heritage Village, and leave with a bag of treats! For the safety of participants and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, this event will be outside, participants must remain in their cars at all times, and participants are encouraged to wear masks. Learn more and reserve your complimentary ticket here: Eventbrite.com

5. The Drive-In at the Central

Price: $28-$35 per car
When: Oct. 27th through Nov. 1st

Enjoy Halloween classics and the Dallas skyline at the same time! Movies like Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, Beetlejuice and Coco are being shown at The Drive-in at the Central between now and November 1st. The movies are projected onto a 52-ft screen with skyline views as a backdrop. You are welcome to bring your own food and snacks or purchase at the drive-in through their contact-free system! It is conveniently located at 2999 N Carroll Ave in Dallas. Learn more and buy tickets here: rooftopcinemaclub.com

6. Drive Boo Halloween

Price: $30 per car
When: Oct. 30th & 31st from 7-11pm

Drive-thru Halloween fun that ranges from circus thrills to Halloween classics in Dallas at the American Airlines Center Silver Parking Garage. You remain safe and contact-free in your car while enjoying a spooky good time. Halloween costumes are encouraged! Learn more and buy tickets here: driveboohalloween.com

Learn more about our program of support for kids and teens who have been impacted by cancer here.

COVID-19 Emergency Funds & Available Medical Bill Assistance for Cancer Patients

By: Patricia Callahan, LMSW, Cancer Resource Specialist at Cancer Support Community North Texas

During the current COVID-19 crisis, individuals and families already burdened by the high cost of cancer, inability or decreased ability to work, and the physical and emotional tolls of their cancer and it’s treatment may be experiencing increased challenges in meeting their basic expenses for a variety of reasons: furlough or layoff of themselves or their caregiver, decreased availability of financial assistance, or loss of health insurance. Check out these COVID-19 Emergency Funds designed to bolster resources for living expenses during the pandemic and the nonprofits and foundations which have open funds to assist with copays and medical bills.

COVID-19 Emergency Funds

Cancer Support Community
Cancer Emergency Fund
This fund will provide assistance in the form of a $250 relief grant for people with cancer who are in active treatment, including palliative and hospice care. This assistance is for non-medical expenses during the coronavirus pandemic. Please be aware that our funds are limited, and we are working to assist as many patients as possible. The financial assistance will be limited to food, transportation, housing, utilities, childcare, or other non-medical expenses.
Call our Cancer Emergency Fund toll-free number — 1-888-409-4166— to learn more and to apply for the program.

Good Days
COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund open for anyone with a chronic disease and Medicare during the pandemic: $250
The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund is a reimbursement only program. The following expenses are eligible for reimbursement:

  • Food (including meal delivery services, take-out, pick-up and groceries)
  • Utility Bills
  • Rent or Mortgage Payments
  • Transportation (including Gas, Taxi/Cab Fare, Ride-Share Services, Parking Fees, Tolls)
  • Hotel Rooms
  • Flights

For more information or questions regarding the COVID-19 program, please contact a Care Navigator at (855) 215-2717.

The Assistance Fund
COVID-19 Health Insurance Assistance Program
The COVID-19 Health Insurance Assistance Program provides immediate financial support for eligible TAF patients by offering grants of up to $2,500 to help them secure health insurance for the remainder of 2020. Applicants will be required to submit verification that they lost insurance, purchased new insurance or are paying for a continuation of their previous insurance, and proof of economic hardship.
To be eligible for the COVID-19 Health Insurance Assistance Program, you must be actively enrolled or have been enrolled in a TAF copay program in 2020; you must have filed a claim in 2020; must not be currently enrolled in a TAF financial assistance program; and must meet the following additional criteria:

  • You must be a legal resident of the United States or a US territory, and must fall within household-income and household-size financial guidelines based upon the Federal Poverty Level.
  • Your insurance coverage must have been impacted by a COVID-19-related job loss.
  • You must have secured or be in the process of securing replacement insurance (or must be paying directly for continuation of existing insurance).
  • You must submit a complete program application that includes the patient’s attestation.

Note: You are required to apply online. Phone and paper applications will not be accepted.

Colorectal Cancer Alliance
Crisis Financial Assistance Fund and Screening Support
If you are a colorectal cancer patient in treatment, you are eligible to apply for our crisis financial awards. If you are seeking colorectal cancer screening, such as colonoscopy, we can help connect you to a resource that works best for you.
Funds may be used for any daily living expenses such as household bills, childcare, transportation costs, or food. Applicants who are U.S. residents and are eligible may receive a $200 award.

Lymphoma Research Foundation
COVID-19 Financial Assistance Grant
LRF’s COVID-19 related financial assistance provides limited financial assistance for people with lymphoma/CLL in active treatment to help with costs including food, transportation, lodging or housing, utilities, child care, and/or devices (e.g., canes, wheelchairs, ramps, air filters). In order to be eligible for financial assistance you must:

  • Have a diagnosis of lymphoma or CLL confirmed by an oncology health care provider (Physician Referral Form must be completed)
  • Be in active treatment for your cancer or received treatment within the last 6 months
  • Live in and be a legal resident of the U.S
  • Have a household income that is at or below 500 percent of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines

Please note that these funds cannot support co-pays and/or coinsurance, insurance premiums and direct costs of medicine.
Contact the LRF Helpline at 800-500-9976 or helpline@lymphoma.org to apply for the COVID-19 Financial Assistance Grant

Lungevity
COVID-19 Breathe Easier Emergency Response Fund
The Breathe Easier fund will offer financial assistance to eligible lung cancer patients and their families to satisfy their critical basic needs of food, transportation, and general household bills. Support in the amount of $500 will be provided to eligible patients and their families.
Call the Lung Cancer HELPLine (844-360-5864), a free phone service in partnership with CancerCare, to learn more and apply for support from the Breathe Easier fund. To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Patients must be in active treatment, or actively pursuing treatment, for lung cancer.
  • The patient’s household income does not exceed 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL); however, special consideration will be given to those who are recently unemployed or furloughed as a result of COVID-19.
  • Patient must be a US resident and be receiving care for lung cancer in the US.

Team Rubicon Disaster Response
COVID-19 Emergency Food Assistance Program
The COVID-19 Emergency Food Assistance Fund, a program of Patient Advocate Foundation (“PAF”), in collaboration with Team Rubicon (“TR”) provides financial assistance to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis and have been impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Emergency Food Assistance Fund grant is intended to help with out of pocket expenses for food/nutritional needs, including assistance with groceries, food delivery, take-out, and medically designed meals.
There are two ways this program may be able to assist you:

  • Team Rubicon is mobilizing volunteers to provide food pick-up and delivery assistance.
  • Patient Advocate Foundation is providing a one-time $500 financial assistance grant to those in need of financial assistance to purchase food.

Tigerlily Foundation
Funds for Families COVID-19 Relief Program
Tigerlily Foundation now offers financial grants to breast cancer patients through the Funds for Families COVID-19 Relief Program. The program provides financial assistance to families based on need. To be eligible and in line with our mission statement, the breast cancer patient must be 45 years old or younger at time of diagnosis.
Financial assistance is limited to a one-time grant of between $250 to $500 per applicant.
Funding is limited, therefore, not guaranteed.
It may take up to 21 days to process and approve your application.
Tigerlily works diligently to meet as many requests as possible.

Open Funds for Treatment Related Expenses

The Assistance Fund
Open Funds

  • Melanoma

Open Waitlists

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors
  • Renal Cell Carcinoma

Lymphoma Research Foundation
Contact the LRF Helpline at 800-500-9976 or helpline@lymphoma.org to apply for the Patient Aid Grant.
LRF’s Patient Aid Program provides one-time grants to qualified applicants. Qualified applicants can only receive a one-time grant from either our COVID-19 Financial Assistance or Patient Aid Grant. In turn, any individuals awarded a grant from the original Patient Aid Grant program cannot apply for a COVID-19 Financial Assistance and vice versa.

Healthwell Foundation
Open Funds:

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Cancer-Related Behavioral Health (Accepting phone applications only)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Gastric Cancer – Medicare Access
  • Mantle Cell Lymphoma
  • Multiple Myeloma – Medicare Access
  • Pediatric Assistance (Accepting phone applications only)
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer – Medicare Access
  • Wilm’s Tumor

Cancer Care
Open Funds:

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Merkel Cell Carcinoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer

Patient Access Network Foundation
Open Funds

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Co-pay Assistance Program
Open Funds

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Mantle Cell Lymphoma
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)
  • Myeloma
  • Lymphoblastic Lymphoma

1 Up on Cancer
Accepting applications for 3rd quarter grants for all types of cancer “Dedicated to direct financial assistance for adults in the United States undergoing cancer treatment.”

  • Q1 = January – March
  • Q2 = April – June
  • Q3 = July – September
  • Q4 = October – December

Resources from Cancer Support Community North Texas

If you have questions about any of these emergency funds or if you are looking for other resources, please contact our Cancer Resource Specialist, Patricia Callahan, at PCallahan@CancerSupportTexas.org or by calling 214-345-8248.

Read our other posts about COVID-19:
Cancer & COVID-19
Coping with COVID-19 and Reopening for Cancer Patients
Our Response to COVID-19

Fondos de Emergencia COVID-19 y Asistencia Médica Disponible para Pacientes con Cáncer

Durante la crisis actual de COVID-19, las personas y familias que ya están agobiadas por el alto costo del cáncer, la incapacidad o la disminución de la capacidad para trabajar, y los peajes físicos y emocionales de su cáncer y su tratamiento pueden estar experimentando mayores desafíos para cubrir sus gastos básicos para una variedad de razones: licencia o despido de sí mismo o de su cuidador, disminución de la disponibilidad de asistencia financiera o pérdida del seguro de salud. Eche un vistazo a estos fondos de emergencia COVID-19 diseñados para reforzar los recursos para gastos de subsistencia durante la pandemia y las organizaciones sin fines de lucro y fundaciones que tienen fondos abiertos para ayudar con los copagos y las facturas médicas.

Fondos de Emergencia para el crisis de COVID-19

Cancer Support Community
Fondo de Emergencia para el Cáncer
Este fondo proporcionará asistencia en forma de una subvención de alivio de $250 para personas con cáncer que están en tratamiento activo, incluidos cuidados paliativos y de hospicio. Esta asistencia es para gastos no médicos durante la pandemia de coronavirus. Tenga en cuenta que nuestros fondos son limitados y estamos trabajando para ayudar a tantos pacientes como sea posible. La asistencia financiera se limitará a alimentos, transporte, vivienda, servicios públicos, cuidado de niños u otros gastos no médicos.
Llame al número gratuito de Cancer Emergency Fund: 1-888-409-4166, para obtener más información y solicitar el programa.

Good Days
Fondo de Ayuda de Emergencia COVID-19
Fondo de ayuda de emergencia COVID-19 abierto para cualquier persona con una enfermedad crónica y Medicare durante la pandemia: $ 250
El Fondo de Ayuda de Emergencia COVID-19 es un programa de reembolso solamente. Los siguientes gastos son elegibles para reembolso:

  • Alimentos (incluidos servicios de entrega de comida, comida para llevar, recogida y comestibles)
  • Recibos de servicios públicos
  • Pagos de alquiler o hipoteca
  • Transporte (incluido gas, tarifa de taxi / taxi, servicios de viaje compartido, tarifas de estacionamiento, peajes)
  • Habitaciones de hotel
  • Vuelos

Para obtener más información o preguntas sobre el programa COVID-19, comuníquese con un navegador de atención al (855) 215-2717.

The Assistance Fund
Programa de Asistencia de Seguro de Salud COVID-19
El Programa de Asistencia de Seguro de Salud COVID-19 brinda apoyo financiero inmediato para pacientes elegibles de TAF al ofrecer subvenciones de hasta $ 2,500 para ayudarlos a obtener un seguro de salud para el resto de 2020. Los solicitantes deberán presentar la verificación de que perdieron el seguro, compraron un nuevo seguro o están pagando por la continuación de su seguro anterior y prueba de dificultades económicas.
Para ser elegible para el Programa de Asistencia de Seguro de Salud COVID-19, debe estar inscrito activamente o haber estado inscrito en un programa de copago TAF en 2020; debe haber presentado un reclamo en 2020; no debe estar actualmente inscrito en un programa de asistencia financiera de TAF; y debe cumplir con los siguientes criterios adicionales:

  • Debe ser un residente legal de los Estados Unidos o un territorio de los Estados Unidos, y debe cumplir con las pautas financieras de ingresos y tamaño del hogar según el Nivel de pobreza federal.
  • Su cobertura de seguro debe haber sido afectada por una pérdida de trabajo relacionada con COVID-19.
  • Debe haber obtenido o estar en el proceso de obtener un seguro de reemplazo (o debe pagar directamente por la continuación del seguro existente).
  • Debe enviar una solicitud de programa completa que incluya la certificación del paciente. Nota: debe presentar su solicitud en línea. No se aceptarán solicitudes telefónicas y en papel.

Colorectal Cancer Alliance
Fondo de Asistencia Financiera para Crisis y Apoyo de Detección
La asistencia financiera relacionada con COVID-19 de LRF proporciona asistencia financiera limitada para personas con linfoma / CLL en tratamiento activo para ayudar con los costos que incluyen alimentos, transporte, alojamiento o vivienda, servicios públicos, cuidado de niños y / o dispositivos (por ejemplo, bastones, sillas de ruedas, rampas). , filtros de aire).
Para ser elegible para asistencia financiera debe:

  • Tener un diagnóstico de linfoma o CLL confirmado por un proveedor de atención médica oncológica (se debe completar el Formulario de referencia del médico).
  • Estar en tratamiento activo para su cáncer o recibió tratamiento en los últimos 6 meses.
  • Vivir y ser residente legal de los EE. UU.
  • Tener un ingreso familiar que sea igual o inferior al 500 por ciento de las pautas federales de pobreza de EE. UU.

Tenga en cuenta que estos fondos no pueden pagar copagos y / o coseguros, primas de seguros y costos directos de medicamentos.
Comuníquese con la línea de ayuda de LRF al 800-500-9976 o helpline@lymphoma.org para solicitar la subvención de asistencia financiera COVID-19.

Lungevity
COVID-19 “Breathe Easier” Fondo de Respuesta a Emergencias
El fondo “Breathe Easier” ofrecerá asistencia financiera a pacientes elegibles con cáncer de pulmón y sus familias para satisfacer sus necesidades básicas críticas de alimentos, transporte y facturas generales del hogar. Se brindará apoyo por un monto de $ 500 a los pacientes elegibles y sus familias.
Llame a nuestra LÍNEA DE AYUDA para el cáncer de pulmón (844-360-5864), un servicio telefónico gratuito en colaboración con CancerCare, para obtener más información y solicitar ayuda del fondo Breathe Easier. Para calificar, los solicitantes deben cumplir con los siguientes criterios:

  • Los pacientes deben estar en tratamiento activo o en búsqueda activa de tratamiento para el cáncer de pulmón.
  • El ingreso familiar del paciente no excede el 300% del Nivel Federal de Pobreza (FPL); sin embargo, se dará especial consideración a aquellos que están desempleados recientemente o que están suspendidos como resultado de COVID-19.
  • El paciente debe ser residente de EE. UU. Y recibir atención para el cáncer de pulmón en EE. UU.

Team Rubicon Disaster Response
Programa de Asistencia Alimentaria de Emergencia COVID-19
El Fondo de Asistencia Alimentaria de Emergencia COVID-19, un programa de Patient Advocate Foundation (“PAF”), en colaboración con el Equipo Rubicon (“TR”) brinda asistencia financiera a pacientes que han sido diagnosticados con cáncer, artritis reumatoide o esclerosis múltiple y tienen sido impactado directa o indirectamente por COVID-19. El subsidio del Fondo de Asistencia Alimentaria de Emergencia COVID-19 está destinado a ayudar con los gastos de bolsillo para alimentos / necesidades nutricionales, incluida la asistencia con alimentos, entrega de alimentos, comida para llevar y comidas diseñadas médicamente.
Hay dos formas en que este programa puede ayudarlo:

  • El equipo Rubicon está movilizando voluntarios para proporcionar asistencia para la recogida y entrega de alimentos.
  • Patient Advocate Foundation proporciona una subvención de asistencia financiera de $500 por única vez a aquellos que necesitan asistencia financiera para comprar alimentos.

Tigerlily Foundation
Programa de ayuda: Fondos para Familias COVID-19
La Fundación Tigerlily ahora ofrece subvenciones financieras a pacientes con cáncer de mama a través del Programa de ayuda COVID-19 de Funds for Families. El programa brinda asistencia financiera a las familias según las necesidades.
Para ser elegible y estar en línea con nuestra declaración de misión, la paciente con cáncer de seno debe tener 45 años o menos al momento del diagnóstico.
La asistencia financiera se limita a una subvención única de entre $ 250 y $ 500 por solicitante. La financiación es limitada, por lo tanto, no está garantizada.
Puede tomar hasta 21 días procesar y aprobar su solicitud.
Tigerlily trabaja diligentemente para satisfacer tantas solicitudes como sea posible.

Fondos Abiertos para Gastos Relacionados con el Tratamiento

The Assistance Fund
Fondos Abiertos

  • Melanoma

Listas de Espera Abiertas

  • Leucemia mieloide aguda
  • Leucemia linfocítica crónica
  • Cáncer gástrico
  • Linfoma de Hodgkin
  • Tumores neuroendocrinos
  • Carcinoma de células renales

Lymphoma Research Foundation
Póngase en contacto con la línea de ayuda de LRF al 800-500-9976 o helpline@lymphoma.org para solicitar la subvención de ayuda al paciente.
El Programa de ayuda al paciente de LRF proporciona subvenciones únicas para solicitantes calificados. Los solicitantes calificados solo pueden recibir una subvención única de nuestra Asistencia Financiera COVID-19 o de la Subvención de Ayuda al Paciente. A su vez, cualquier persona que reciba una subvención del programa original de Subvención de Ayuda al Paciente no puede solicitar una Asistencia Financiera COVID-19 y viceversa.

Healthwell Foundation
Fondos Abiertos

  • Leucemia mieloide aguda
  • Salud conductual relacionada con el cáncer (solo acepta aplicaciones telefónicas)
  • Leucemia linfocítica crónica
  • Cáncer gástrico: acceso a Medicare
  • Linfoma de células del manto
  • Mieloma múltiple: acceso a Medicare
  • Asistencia pediátrica (solo acepta aplicaciones telefónicas)
  • Cáncer de pulmón de células pequeñas: acceso a Medicare
  • Tumor de Wilms

Cancer Care
Fondos Abiertos

  • Leucemia linfoblástica aguda
  • Leucemia linfocítica crónica
  • Cáncer gástrico
  • Carcinoma de células de Merkel
  • Cáncer de pancreas
  • Cáncer de pulmón de células pequeñas

Patient Access Network Foundation
Fondos Abiertos

  • Carcinoma de células basales
  • Leucemia linfocítica crónica
  • Linfoma de células del manto

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Co-pay Assistance Program
Fondos Abiertos

  • Leucemia mieloide aguda
  • Leucemia linfocítica crónica
  • Linfoma de células del manto
  • Síndromes mielodisplásicos (SMD)
  • mieloma
  • Linfoma linfoblástico

1 Up on Cancer
Aceptando solicitudes para subvenciones del tercer trimestre para todos los tipos de cáncer “Dedicado a la asistencia financiera directa para adultos en los Estados Unidos que reciben tratamiento contra el cáncer.

  • Q1 = enero – marzo
  • Q2 = abril – junio
  • Q3 = julio – septiembre
  • Q4 = octubre – diciembre

Cancer & COVID-19

What we hear about COVID-19 changes daily, even hourly. To learn about the current trends of the disease and understand the perspective of the healthcare community, we are sitting down – virtually, of course – with oncology healthcare experts in the DFW metroplex. We will discuss health and safety concerns for cancer patients and survivors and other immunocompromised individuals as our surrounding community plans for reopening. Our experts will tell us what they are learning and hearing, what precautions we should be taking, the impact the disease is taking on our daily lives, and answer your questions. Ahead of our town hall discussion, we have prepared this list of resources.

COVID-19 Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with COVID-19 have experienced a wide range of symptoms. This list is not exhaustive, and you should contact your healthcare provider about any symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

When to seek emergency medical attention:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

COVID-19 Testing Sites

Dallas County

For an up-to-date, comprehensive list of testing sites, their hours, co-pay information, and criteria for testing, visit the Dallas County Coronavirus page.

Drive-Thru Locations

American Airlines Center, Parking Lot C

2500 Victory Plaza

*through June 30th

University of Dallas, Lot B

1845 E. Northgate Drive | Irving, TX 75062

*beginning July 1st

Ellis David Field House

9191 S. Polk St.

Walk-Up Locations

Red Bird Mall/Westmoreland Park

7222 S. Westmoreland Rd.

Inspired Vision Compassion Center

2019 N Masters Dr.

Sam Tasby Middle School

7001 Fair Parks

Additional Testing Options

Parkland Hospital Testing Sites

Baylor Scott & White Health

Methodist Health System

Dallas Mobile Testing

1-888-601-0568

Learn more here

Find testing criteria and additional testing sites here.

Tarrant County

For an up-to-date, comprehensive list of testing sites, their hours, co-pay information, and criteria for testing, visit the Fort Worth Coronavirus page.

Collin County

For up-to-date information about the response to the Coronavirus in Collin County, please visit their COVID-19 page.

Resources & Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019

COVID-19 Resource Hotlines

Dallas County: 214-670-4636

Tarrant County: 817-248-6299

Collin County: 972-941-5922

Cancer Support Community Helpline

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Central Time

Saturday – Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Central Time

888-793-9355

Cancer Support Community North Texas, Cancer Resource Specialist

PCallahan@CancerSupportTexas.org | 214-345-8248

About Cancer Support Community North Texas

Cancer Support Community North Texas provides cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones with a place to turn for support, education and strength.

Cancer Support Community North Texas offers a wide range of free programs and services designed to nurture your body and spirit, including:

  • Support Services
  • Health & Wellness Workshops
  • Educational Presentations
  • Social Connection
  • Resources & Referrals

To learn more about our free program of support and our virtual services, we invite you to explore our website, visit our Response to COVID-19 page or contact us at Info@CancerSupportTexas.org or by calling 214-345-8230.

Coping with COVID-19 & Re-Opening for Cancer Patients

By: Patricia Callahan, LMSW, Cancer Resource Specialist at Cancer Support Community North Texas

Cancer patients are uniquely vulnerable to the Coronavirus because treatments like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants can result in compromised immune systems. Even though more places are opening up and most are tired of staying home, it’s still important for anyone with a compromised immune system to continue to stay home as much as possible. Other household members should limit their outings as well to reduce the risk of bringing the virus home to vulnerable loved ones. If you have to go out for medical appointments or essential errands like grocery shopping, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, and practice social distancing – staying 6 feet apart from others. (MD Anderson Staff, 2020)

As businesses open up and the world around you is returning to going out and socializing more, it can feel even more stressful and isolating to continue staying home, especially if you are cooped up with children or other family members and feel like you have no time for yourself. Or conversely, if you live alone and really wish you could have face to face contact with loved ones. Cancer patients, like everyone else, want to know when this will be over, when they can go out and see their people. Although we don’t have a set time frame for when the need to practice social distancing will end, it can be helpful to remind yourself that it is likely time limited. It is also helpful to remember that “social distancing and isolation are not meant to be a punishment but a way to protect the work and treatment you already have undergone to treat or manage your illness. It is the best way we know how to maintain your health.” (Balliet, 2020)

It can be easy to zone out or even be in a state of holding your breath, just waiting for things to get back to normal, but this actually increases anxiety and irritability and can contribute to a sense of hopelessness and frustration. Now, more than ever, it is important to implement practices for increasing feelings of well-being and connectedness and lowering stress. So what can cancer patients and their loved ones do to survive and thrive during extended isolation?

Focus on strengths. For cancer patients and survivors, it can be helpful to focus on what they’ve already come through – the strength and courage they found to get them through whatever challenges they have already faced, and the tools and resources that helped them do that. Writing these things down in a journal or on a piece of paper they can post somewhere they will see it can be a good tool to have when things start to feel hopeless or overwhelming.

Smile and connect. If you are a patient and are continuing to come to medical visits, the landscape has changed. Having to wear a mask, have your temperature taken, and answer questions to enter a building, plus not being able to have your loved ones with you for support can be provoke feelings of anxiety. Remember you are not alone. Smile when you pass someone. Make small talk in the elevator. You will be amazed what these small acts can do to lift your spirits and the spirits of those around you. (Balliet, 2020)

Use Online Support. The use of the free online platforms for support groups, counseling, classes, and presentations offered by Cancer Support Community allow patients to take an active role in their care and limit the information overload that comes from channel surfing or too much time on social media. Become a member of Cancer Support Community North Texas to access free counseling and support groups. Access our virtual classes and presentations here.

Look for opportunities to do things in a new way. If you are tired of video chats with friends and family, get creative with it: play online versions of classic games like Clue, Monopoly, and Uno; make a favorite recipe together while on FaceTime, Messenger, or Zoom; watch movies with friends on Netflix Party, or start a virtual book group. Reconnect by text or phone calls with friends and family you haven’t talked to in a while. Check in on others more than you normally would. Take your morning coffee, breakfast, or dinner outside and enjoy the fresh air. Read new books. Watch uplifting and humorous television shows that aren’t your regular go to shows or genres.

Focus on what’s good. It can be easy to get caught up in the latest Coronavirus statistics or political debates about social distancing, but there is also a lot of good and kindness going on in the world right now: neighbors checking on one another, restaurants and schools offering free food to children, and strangers offering to grocery shop for vulnerable people. It can feel like the universe is against you when faced with the dual stress of cancer and the worry of catching COVID-19. “So, each time you look at the news, search for a ‘tell me something good’ story to help balance the narrative.” (Balliet, 2020)

Provide Acts of Kindness. Email someone you know who may be alone and scared just to let them know you are thinking of them. Write thank you notes to the people who have helped you. Write positive messages on social media if you use it. (Balliet, 2020)

Increase positive feelings. One way to do this is what Vice President of Clinical Services for Cancer Support Community Susan Ash-Lee calls “a spoon full of oxytocin.” Oxytocin is the “love hormone”, the feel-good hormone that is generated when we do things like pet animals, share a meal with someone, take a warm bath, give someone a hug, or say I love you. This feeling of well-being and connectedness can also be generated by practicing Loving Kindness Meditation or finding things in our lives that Ash-Lee calls “Hula Hoops and Tambourines” – those things that are unique to each one of us that make us giggle with delight. (Ash-Lee, 2020)

Create ways to center and calm yourself. Conscious breathing and mindfulness meditation are two ways to practice staying in the present moment, noticing what is, right now. You don’t have to be perfect at it. It’s a practice. It helps us bring our minds back to the present and away from worrying about the future and things we can’t control. You can find free mindfulness and other meditation videos on the Cancer Support Community Facebook page and on Youtube. There are also apps that offer guidance on breathing:  Prana Breath: Calm & Meditate, Breathe2Relax, Universal Breathing: Pranayama.

Use reliable sources of information. Keep yourself informed with official information from sources like the Center for Disease Control, The World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society. Take their recommendations seriously. Avoid unsubstantiated comments on social media.

References

MD Anderson Staff (2020, May 8) COVID-19: Businesses are reopening. Is it safe for cancer patients to go out? MD Anderson. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/cancerwise/covid-19coronavirus–businesses-are-reopening–is-it-safe-for-cancer-patients-survivors-caregivers-to-go-out.h00-159381945.html

Balliet, W. (2020, March 25) Top 12 tips to relieve COVID-19 stress. Medical University of South Carolina. https://web.musc.edu/about/news-center/2020/03/25/covid-19-stress-relief

Ash-Lee, S. (2020, April 28) Spotlight on Coronavirus: Coping with the Emotions. Interview by K. Thiboldeaux. Frankly Speaking About Cancer [Online Radio Show]. Retrieved from https://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/radio-show/spotlight-coronavirus-coping-emotions

For more information on lowering stress for cancer patients during the COVID-19 crisis, please see the following resources:

How Patients with Cancer, and Survivors, Can Manage Stress Through COVID-19 Uncertainty

https://www.curetoday.com/articles/how-patients-with-cancer-and-survivors-can-manage-stress-through-covid19-uncertainty

Expert Q&A: Cancer, COVID-19 and Mental Health

https://www.cedars-sinai.org/newsroom/expert-qa-cancer-covid-19-and-mental-health/

Expert Advice: Cancer Care During COVID-19

https://baptisthealth.net/baptist-health-news/expert-advice-cancer-care-during-covid-19/