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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Content Overview

Newly Diagnosed With Cancer


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Advanced cancer is cancer that has grown beyond the organ where it first started. Sometimes cancer that has not spread is considered locally advanced if it is affecting a vital organ and cannot be removed.
If your diagnosis is an advanced stage of cancer or an unusual or a rare cancer:
  • Consider getting a second opinion about your diagnosis and proposed treatment from a National Cancer Institute (NCI) certified Comprehensive Cancer Center.
    • You can locate an NCI center at:,2 
    • If you can't travel to such a facility, you can have the necessary information sent by an overnight carrier or regular post. Free air transportation is available.  
    • Once you decide on a treatment, it can be administered by your cancer doctor close to home.
  • If there are no mainstream medical treatments available, find out what new treatments are being investigated in clinical trials.Clinical trials are cutting edge medicine. If there are no promising treatments in the United States, research whether there are useful treatments abroad. Learn how to spot a phony treatment. 
  • If you may need to stop work:
    • Learn about the disability income sources to which you may be entitled. Check benefits at work. Look at the requirements for obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You paid premiums from withholding. See if you qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
    • If you are going to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Only one third of applicants for SSDI are awarded an income. Survivorship A to Z provides easy-to-use information for applying as an educated consumer that makes it more likely to get a "yes."
    • Check your employer provided life insurance and retirement plans to be sure the beneficiaries are the people you want. 
    • If you have health insurance through work and will continue coverage through a COBRA type law, start thinking about how to pay for the premium.
  • Much of what used to be done in a hospital can now be done at home thanks to nurses and doctors (yes, doctors) who go to your home. You can hire home health aides through a service or on your own. An increasing amount of medical equipment is available for home use. Must of the cost of home care is covered by health insurance.
  • Get your legal affairs in order. (We call the subject "Planning Ahead"). Please do not assume from this recommendation that we are suggesting you are going to die sometime soon. What will happen depends on many factors, including the type of cancer, your physical condition and your access to quality cancer care. However, it is better to be safe than sorry. And what we are suggesting is what we suggest to everyone - including people with no health condition. Life is fragile. 

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