9 Best Charities That Support Cancer Patients (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Support Cancer Patients (Complete 2024 List)

By
Alycia O'Dell

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In the US alone, an estimated 2 million people face the devastating shock of a cancer diagnosis annually. Beyond the primary concern of survival, there are practical considerations, such as the average cost of medical care and drug expenses, which amounts to a staggering $42,000 in the first year on average. Moreover, many cancer patients face isolation, depression, and anxiety throughout their cancer journeys. Fortunately, charities around the world are working to reduce the burden of a cancer diagnosis and support patients. So, we had to ask: What are the best charities that support cancer patients?

The best charities that support cancer patients are the American Cancer Society and the HealthWell Foundation. Charities such as the Cancer Support Community and the Livestrong Foundation support cancer patients by empowering them with knowledge and community.

Whether you want to alleviate the financial burden of cancer, help a family navigate their child’s cancer diagnosis, or connect sufferers with support networks, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that support cancer patients are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to contribute.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Support Cancer Patients Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact, transparency ratings, and achievements.

The majority of these charities operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some advance cancer research internationally.

Many of these charities focus on connecting cancer patients to alleviate isolation and uncertainty. Others focus on practical considerations, like travel and medication costs.

Some of these organizations support patients with all types of cancer before, during, and after their battle with cancer, while others focus on supporting patients with specific types of cancer, like breast cancer and pediatric cancer.

Yet, they all share a common goal; to support cancer patients and minimize the devastating effects of a diagnosis.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Support Cancer Patients in 2024

Below are our favorite charities that support cancer patients (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

American Cancer Society: Diverse Support for Diverse Patients

Logo for American Cancer Society
Living Life with an Exclamation Point!

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The American Cancer Society holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Every cancer. Every life.” American Cancer Society

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What they do:

The American Cancer Society supports cancer patients by empowering them, their families, and their communities with information, answers, and guidance. For example, in 2023, they launched ACS CARES, an app that equips those facing cancer with curated content, programs, and services tailored to their specific cancer journey. As another example, their Road to Recovery program provides free rides to local treatment appointments, while their Patient Lodging programs give patients traveling for treatment a free place to stay. And, their research grants support groundbreaking cancer research led by promising scientists and healthcare professionals, particularly those in the early stages of their careers. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the American Cancer Society has impacted the lives of millions of people living with cancer. Since 1946, they have invested $5 billion in cancer research, making them the largest non-governmental funder of cancer research in the US. For example, in 2022 alone, they supported more than 51 million cancer patients through their programs, including providing more than 358,000 nights of lodging to over 21,500 patients and their families.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the American Cancer Society via their website. You can also sign up to fundraise with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, or you can volunteer with ACS Reach to Recovery.

2

HealthWell Foundation: Bridging the Financial Gap to Cancer Care

Logo for HealthWell Foundation
About HealthWell - April 2022

Their impact and transparency ratings:

The HealthWell Foundation holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

When health insurance is not enough.

HealthWell Foundation

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What they do:

The HealthWell Foundation supports cancer patients by providing grants to assist with costs such as prescription copays, surgeries, and pediatric treatment. They offer grants through their Disease Funds, which include a variety of oncology programs. For example, their Cancer-Related Behavioral Health Fund assists with prescriptions, counseling services, and more, to manage cancer-related behavioral health issues. They also support cancer patients who rely on Medicare by reducing cost share for a variety of cancer treatments, including breast cancer, small cell lung cancer, and prostate cancer.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the HealthWell Foundation has awarded over 1.3 million grants to help financially vulnerable people access quality healthcare. For example, in 2022, they awarded over $896 million in medication copayment and insurance premium assistance to almost 170,000 underinsured patients. This includes helping more than 150 oncology patients access behavioral health care.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the HealthWell Foundation via their website. You can also keep up to date with their work and achievements by following the charity on social media.

3

Cancer Support Community: Community is Stronger than Cancer

logo for Cancer Support Community
Our Story

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Cancer Support Community holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Everyone’s cancer is unique. Your support should be too.”

Cancer Support Community

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What they do:

The Cancer Support Community supports people impacted by cancer by providing mental health care, fostering compassionate communities, and eliminating barriers to care. For example, they operate MyLifeLine, their own social media network that facilitates easy communication within the community to alleviate stress, anxiety, and isolation. As another example, they offer in-person support at 190 locations around the world with programs like support groups, yoga classes, and educational workshops. Furthermore, their Advocacy Action Center focuses on promoting policies that benefit cancer patients, like those that protect and expand access to care.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Cancer Support Community has been a trusted source of information and comfort for patients battling cancer. For example, in 2021, they reached more than 1.6 million people impacted by cancer, providing over $50 million in free services. In the same year, they added 12,423 new users to MyLifeLine, bringing the number of active users to more than 21,000 people.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Cancer Support Community via their website. You can also advocate or participate in research.

4

Livestrong Foundation: More than just Hope

Logo for Livestrong Foundation
Which everyday cancer problem will we fix today?

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Livestrong Foundation holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Which everyday cancer problem can we fix today?”

The Livestrong Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The Livestrong Foundation supports cancer patients and those impacted by cancer by providing direct services, community connection, and advocacy. For example, their Help Starts Here site contains a collection of educational resources for all stages of cancer, from diagnosis to survivorship. As another example, the Livestrong Fertility program offers reproductive information, resources, and financial support to survivors whose cancer and its treatment pose risks to their fertility. And, their Livestrong at School program offers age-appropriate lessons designed to help educators, parents, and caregivers teach children about cancer in a way that’s inspiring and empowering.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Livestrong Foundation has enhanced the lives of millions of people impacted by cancer. For example, their Livestrong at School program has reached more than 4 million students and their Livestrong Fertility program has saved patients almost $75 million in fertility preservation expenses. Furthermore, more than 400,000 copies of their Livestrong Guidebook have been distributed to cancer survivors.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Livestrong Foundation via their website. You can also attend an event, or volunteer with the organization.

5

BreastCancer.org: Empowerment through Education

Logo for Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Breastcancer.org: Care Until The Cure

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

BreastCancer.org holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Trusted guidance when you need us most. Because no one should face breast cancer alone.”

Breastcancer.org

⚒️

What they do:

BreastCancer.org supports patients with breast cancer by serving as a one-stop shop for vital information and community. Their Professional Advisory Board, composed of professionals like radiation oncologists, plastic surgeons, social workers, and insurance experts, reviews each piece of original content before publication. The rigorous review process ensures they are providing not only the most reliable, current, and complete information but also that every aspect of a patient’s journey is covered. Furthermore, the organization provides a community for peer support, allowing users to connect, share experiences, and offer advice to one another.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, BreastCancer.org has helped more than 222 million people around the world to navigate their journey with breast cancer. For example, in 2022 alone, their site received over 1.1 million visits per month, totaling more than 26 million visits for the year. Furthermore, over 230,000 registered users have participated in their community support discussion boards, covering 160,000 topics related to breast cancer.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to BreastCancer.org via their website. You can also join the community to share your experience and advice with others.

6

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation: A Legacy of Hope

Logo for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation: Giving Kids Opportunities For Cures

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Their transparency & ratings:

Alex’s Lemonade Stand holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time.”

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation supports children with cancer by empowering families and communities against cancer. For example, their Travel for Care program offsets the cost of travel for families who must travel for treatment. Furthermore, their Super Sibs program offers comfort and encouragement to siblings of children with cancer, while their School Support program helps school staff navigate a student’s cancer diagnosis. And, their ALSF Grant Program funds cutting-edge research into all facets of pediatric cancer, from early diagnosis to treatment. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $250 million to fight childhood cancer, supporting more than 27,000 children and their families. For example, in 2022, their Travel for Care program helped over 350 families and their Super Sibs program reached more than 1,900 siblings of children with cancer. In the same year, they provided more than $17 million toward pediatric cancer research. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation via their website. You can also volunteer locally or participate in an event.

7

Cancer Hope Network: Patient-to-Patient Support

Cancer Hope Network logo
Hope Train: Finding Hope After a Cancer Diagnosis.

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Cancer Hope Network holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Talk with someone who understands.”

Cancer Hope Network

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What they do:

The Cancer Hope Network supports cancer patients and their loved ones by providing free one-on-one peer support. Their program works by matching patients with a volunteer survivor or loved one based on factors like shared diagnoses, life experiences, and treatments. Their Peer Mentors are trained to provide empathetic support to people battling cancer and the relationship is overseen by the Programs Team, which is made up of social work and healthcare professionals. Furthermore, their Talking About Clinical Trials Peer Mentors are specifically trained to provide support to patients who are considering or currently participating in clinical trials.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Cancer Hope Network has connected more than 50,000 patients and caregivers with one of over 500 trained volunteer Peer Mentors to replace fear of the unknown with hope for the future. In 2022, they partnered with leading technology company Unite Us to increase access to resources and services for people facing cancer. Moreover, in 2023, they announced the formation of the Young Professionals Advisory Committee to drive the direction of the organization’s support for young adults affected by cancer.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Cancer Hope Network via their website. You can also support the charity by hosting a fundraiser or attending an event. If you are a cancer survivor who is at least one year post-treatment or you served as a cancer caregiver, you can volunteer for their Peer Mentor program

8

CURE Childhood Cancer: Fighting Cancer, Supporting Families

Logo for CURE Childhood Cancer
CURE Childhood Cancer 2021

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Their transparency & ratings:

CURE Childhood Cancer holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

Until there is a cure, there’s CURE.”

CURE Childhood Cancer

⚒️

What they do:

CURE Childhood Cancer works to combat childhood cancer by providing support to cancer patients and their families and funding targeted research. They offer programs that provide emotional, financial, and practical support to families. For example, their Open Arms Meal Program provides meals to families in the hospital. In addition, their Early Outreach Program provides newly diagnosed families with a tote bag containing important resources, such as an educational booklet written by experienced parents, and connects families with a community of emotional support. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, CURE Childhood Cancer has improved the lives of millions of children with cancer and their families. For example, in 2021, their Open Arms Meal Program provided 16,000 boxed meals to families in hospitals. In the same year, they distributed over $445,000 in emergency funds across 518 families in need, while their Early Outreach Program distributed 350 tote bags to newly diagnosed families. And, since 2010, they have invested over $43 million in cutting-edge cancer research, including the development of genetic testing for children with high-risk tumors.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to CURE Childhood Cancer via their website. You can also attend an event or host a fundraiser.

9

Young Survival Coalition: Resources and Community for Young Adults

Logo for Young Survival Coalition
Young Survival Coalition: We are a Community of Young Breast Cancer Survivors

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Young Survival Coalition holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Fight fear with knowledge. Take it from young adults who have been there.”

Young Survival Coalition

⚒️

What they do:

The Young Survival Coalition supports young adults battling breast cancer by empowering them with knowledge, community, and a voice. For example, their Educational resources help young adults understand the disease’s unique impact on their age group. These cover topics such as fertility preservation and pregnancy, communicating with children, and long-term survivorship. Additionally, the organization fosters community through individual and group support, as well as conferences. Furthermore, their advocacy efforts ensure the representation of young people in breast cancer research and legislation.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Young Survival Coalition has impacted the lives of thousands of young adults affected by breast cancer. For example, their community of survivors has grown to over 170 Face 2 Face local networking groups across the US. Furthermore, in 2019, they launched Project 528, the first-ever worldwide assessment to identify the needs of young people with breast cancer.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Young Survival Coalition via their website. You can also advocate for representation in research and legislation, or attend a conference.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that support cancer patients. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to supporting cancer patients—based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist, and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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