Amputation is commonly understood as the loss of a major limb such as an arm or a leg. However, the loss of any body part often includes profound functional and psychological changes which affect the ways in which patients relate to, view, and use their bodies.
Dr. Peter Maguire, director of the CRC Psychological Medicine Group in Manchester, England, explains that “Cancer commonly causes loss of bodily functions, damage to the body image, and threat to life itself. Fear and grief are likely consequences, and the surgical and medical treatments for cancer are often drastic and may give rise to further losses.” †
With this in mind, the Amputee Coalition is committed to offering appropriate support and assistance to those living with the effects of breast cancer such as mastectomies, lumpectomies, or malformations of the breast through chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
This fact sheet will provide information on different organizations that are able to offer financial assistance to those living with breast cancer. Additionally, organizations are listed that offer in-kind services and donations such as non-traditional prosthetics, head coverings, and home cleaning. Finally, this fact sheet includes support for specific populations such as African Americans, patients under 45 years of age, members of the LGBT community as well as pregnant survivors.
The Breast Cancer Charities: Help Now Fund Quarterly Grant
8505 Technology Forest Place Ste 604
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
936 / 231 – 8460
Through The Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA)’s Help Now Fund Quarterly Grant, BCCA is committed to helping minimize the financial burdens that come with breast cancer by providing financial support to patients undergoing active treatment so that they may focus on recovery.
The Help Now Fund Quarterly Grant is a financial assistance program available to patients actively undergoing treatment for their breast cancer diagnosis. Please visit the BCCA FAQs to review how active treatment is defined.
The Help Now Fund Quarterly Grant only accepts applications between the following periods:
Since 1999, the Cancer Survivors’ Fund (CSF) has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and prosthetic appliances to young cancer survivors. With counseling and financial assistance from CSF, they are accomplishing dreams once thought to be impossible.
Scholarships are granted for the college education of the cancer survivors. Recipients are selected by a committee based on applicants’ personal hardship and financial need. Application process for 2019-2020 Academic Year is closed. Please visit CSF starting February 3, 2020 to apply for the Fall 2020 Semester.
The Fund reduces financial hardship on families by also providing assistance towards the cost of prostheses and artificial limbs for children and young adults.
Medicare: Breast Prostheses
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers some external breast prostheses (including a post-surgical bra) after a mastectomy. Part A covers surgically implanted breast prostheses after a mastectomy if the surgery takes place in an inpatient setting. Part B covers the surgery if it takes place in an outpatient setting.
National Breast Cancer Foundation: HOPE Kit
2600 Network Blvd., Suite 300
Frisco, Texas 75034
HOPE Kits are filled with thoughtful items of comfort and encouragement to help lift the spirits of patients while they are undergoing breast cancer treatment. Items in HOPE Kits may vary. HOPE Kits are only sent within the United States, including AK and HI. HOPE Kits can include:
• Fuzzy Socks
• Unscented Lotion • Lip Balm
• HOPE Journal
• Inspirational Bracelet
• Educational Resources
National Breast Cancer Foundation: National Mammography Program
2600 Network Blvd., Suite 300
Frisco, Texas 75034
In support of their mission, National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) partners with medical facilities across the country to provide free mammograms and diagnostic breast care services to underserved populations through the NBCF National Mammography Program. In addition, the NBCF National Mammography Program requires that medical facilities within their network have the capacity to continue treatment after an abnormal finding or diagnosis of breast cancer.
The Pink Fund’s mission is to provide the financial support necessary to help breast cancer patients focus on healing while improving survivorship outcomes.
The Pink Fund may pay patients’ cost-of-living bills so they can have peace of mind during treatment and recovery. Financial assistance is available for qualified applicants undergoing ACTIVE TREATMENT of breast cancer who can also prove a loss of working income.
The Pink Fund defines active treatment as the period after a positive diagnosis of breast cancer has been made (with a diagnostic biopsy) and during which therapies are being administered. Therapies include surgical procedures to remove the cancer (e.g. single or bi-lateral mastectomy, lumpectomy, axillary dissection, or sentinel node biopsy) as well as chemotherapy or radiation.
Susan G. Komen Treatment Assistance Program https://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/About_Breast_Cancer/Tools_and_Resources/Komen_Cancer_Care_Flyer-V2-2017.pdf
1-877 / GO KOMEN (465-6636)
The following assistance is available for qualifying breast cancer patients: assessment by an oncology social worker, breast cancer education, psychosocial support and information about local resources. Financial assistance is available for oral pain medication, anti-nausea medication, oral chemotherapy/hormone treatment, child care/elder care, transportation to and from treatment, lymphedema care and supplies, and durable medical equipment.
Awesome Breastforms are created by a group of women who have come together for the single purpose of crocheting and knitting handmade prosthetic breast forms for women who have had breast surgery, including mastectomy, lumpectomy, or explant surgery. Awesome Breastforms are made of high quality 100% cotton fiber yarn. They are cooler and lighter than traditional silicone prosthetics. There are several color options available when ordering. Awesome Breastforms are washable and easy to care for.
Awesome Breastforms are completely free to any woman who has had a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Volunteers pay for the cost of yarn, give their time to produce the forms, and then pay for all shipping expenses.
Casting for Recovery
109 East Oak Street, Ste 1G
Bozeman, MT 59715
406 / 624 – 6583
Casting for Recovery (CfR) provides healing outdoor retreats at no cost to participants for women with breast cancer. CfR’s retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life, and experience healing connections with other women and nature. The retreats are open to women with breast cancer of all ages and during all stages of treatment and recovery.
Cleaning for a Reason
Providing services in cities across United States and Canada, Cleaning for a Reason (CfR) offers one general house cleaning per month for four consecutive months. CfR, however, can’t always guarantee there will be an available maid service in every area. Please be sure to fill out the application completely so CfR may begin the process of matching you with a maid service as soon as possible. Once you are matched, you will be asked to provide CfR with a note from your physician confirming you are in treatment. Upon receipt of that note, you will be notified by the maid service to schedule your first cleaning.
Good Wishes: Request a Wrap
If you or a loved one are experiencing a loss or thinning of hair as a result of illness or treatment, Good Wishes will send you one free It’s a Wrap© scarf in the pattern and color of your choosing! It’s a Wrap© scarves are made from 100% cotton or cotton/poly breathable fabrics. To receive one complimentary wrap, Good Wishes ask that you choose one first choice, second choice, and third choice from the wrap options below and either fill in the online request form, download the printer-friendly request form, or call Good Wishes directly at (888) 778-5998. Delivery may take 4-6 weeks depending upon stock and demand. Free U.S. shipping is offered within the 50 states and Washington DC. Requests sent internationally or to U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, will need to pay shipping costs.
Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Knitted Knockers’ special volunteer knitters provide these free to those requesting them. Knitted Knockers can be adjusted to fill the gap for breasts that are uneven and are easily adapted for those going through reconstruction by simply removing some of the stuffing.
Population Specific Support
The National LGBT Cancer Network works to improve the lives of LGBT cancer survivors and those at risk by educating the LGBT community about increased cancer risks and the importance of screening and early detection; by training health care providers to offer more culturally-competent, safe and welcoming care; and by advocating for LGBT survivors in mainstream cancer organizations, the media and research.
Sisters Network: A National African American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization
9668 Westheimer Rd., Ste. 200-132
Houston, TX 77063
866 / 781 – 1808
Sisters Network® Inc. (SNI), founded in 1994, is the only national African American breast cancer survivorship organization in the United States. Sisters Network is governed by an elected Board of Directors and assisted by an appointed medical advisory committee. Membership is 3000, which includes more than 40 affiliate survivor run chapters nationwide. The organization’s purpose is to provide a broader scope of knowledge that addresses the breast cancer survivorship crisis affecting African American women around the country.
Young Survival Coalition
75 Broad Street, Suite 409
New York, NY 10004
877 / 972 – 1011
Now in its 20th year, Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young adults affected by breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so these young adults feel supported, empowered, and hopeful. YSC was founded in 1998 by three young adults who were under the age of 35 when diagnosed. They were discouraged by the lack of resources available and the under-representation of young adults in breast cancer research. Today, YSC is the go-to organization for young adults facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
Breastfeeding as a Post-Operative Survivor
Breastfeeding After a Bilateral Mastectomy
Although a bilateral mastectomy means that you will have no breast tissue to produce milk, there is a device called a Supplemental Nursing System that allows parents to experience their baby latching to their breast and being fed this way. The device is filled with formula and then attached to the breast with an outlet at the nipple.
Breastfeeding After Breast Cancer
It is possible to breastfeed after breast cancer — sometimes with a little extra help. Find out the whens and hows along with tips to get your milk supply going.
Breastfeeding After a Mastectomy: Andrea Downing
“One of my nurses was kind enough to connect me with someone on staff who had been through a mastectomy due to a BRCA1 mutation. She came in to talk to me about her own experiences. I had tears streaming down my face as she gave me a hug and told me that I was going to do just fine feeding my son. They asked me if I wanted to try the SNS (Supplemental Nursing System), and I am so glad that I said yes.”
† Maguire, Peter, and Parkes, Colin M. “Surgery and loss of body parts” in British Medical Journal. 1998 Apr 4; 316(7137): 1086–1088. doi: 10.1136/bmj.316.7137.1086
It is not the intention of the Amputee Coalition to provide specific medical or legal advice but rather to provide consumers with information to better understand their health and healthcare issues. The Amputee Coalition does not endorse any specific treatment, technology, company, service or device. Consumers are urged to consult with their healthcare providers for specific medical advice or before making any purchasing decisions involving their care.
This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90LLRC0001-01-00, from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
© Amputee Coalition. Local reproduction for use by Amputee Coalition constituents is permitted as long as this copyright information is included. Organizations or individuals wishing to reprint this article in other publications, including other World Wide Web sites must contact the Amputee Coalition for permission to do so.