• For many families, "information seeking" is an important coping strategy.
  • Information can be obtained by doing library searches, calling special toll-free information numbers or accessing sources on the World Wide Web.


  • Before suggesting a source of information to families, it is important to determine:
  • preferred learning style. Some people prefer print material, others learn better with visual or audio material
  • literacy level
  • language preference
  • cultural issues (e.g. how are roles portrayed in educational materials? Are they congruent with lifestyle of the learner?)
  • What does the family already know? How do they interpret this information?

Toll free information

  • 1-800-PA-CANCER
    Information about cancer and cancer related resources in Pennsylvania
  • 1-800-4CANCER
    Information about cancer, clinical trials, patient and public education
  • 1-800-ACS-2345
    Information about cancer, patient services, resources, patient and public education
  • COPELINE 1-800-577-3636
    Caregivers may call this telephone number and select brief tape recorded messages about caregiving from a menu of topics. Callers can also receive a free video and a copy of the book Homecare Guide for Caregivers. This service will be available until 6/30/98.
  • Cancer Care Inc. 1-800-813-HOPE
    Information and support about coping with cancer for patients, caregivers, and health professionals
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
    Provides support groups, information and education, and financial assistance for families and patients with lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin's disease and multiple myeloma
  • American Brain Tumor Association
    Education, support and referrals for people with brain tumors
  • American Foundation for Urologic Diseases
    Information on support for patients with prostate cancer and their families.
  • Bone Marrow Transplant Family Support Network
  • National Family Caregivers Association
  • Wellness Community

Resources on the World Wide Web

FDA recommendations for evaluating the reliability of a web site:

  1. Government or university run sites, without marketing, social or political agendas, are good sources for scientific and medical information
  2. An editorial board should be available to review material, and respond to questions or requests for additional information
  3. The site should link to other sources of medical information
  4. The site should be updated on a regular basis
  5. Informative graphics and multimedia files should be available to enhance the information
  6. The site should offer information either without charge, or with good value for the fee

  • CancerNet
    Produced by the International Cancer Information Center, NCI and the Office of Cancer Communications
  • OncoLink
    The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
  • American Cancer Society
  • Cansearch
    Sponsored by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivors

Sources for Printed Information

  • National Cancer Institute
    call 1-800-4CANCER to order
  • American Cancer Society
    call 1-800 ACS 2345 to order
  • National Hospice Organization
    call 1-800-658-8898
  • Helping People Cope: A Guide for Families Facing Cancer published by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Cancer Control Program
    call 215-898-2131 to order multiple copies at no charge

Community Resources


  • It is very important for families and health care professionals to recognize that no one person can do everything. Yet, it is very difficult for some people to ask for or accept help. This can be for a variety of reasons: some of them cultural; some of them intrapersonal. When recommending a referral to an outside (the family) resource, be sensitive to how this recommendation will be received.

  • Know the resources to which you are referring. Many community based resources change address, telephone number, eligibility requirements, service hours etc. Many community resources close without warning because of lack of funding or support. It is very discouraging to a family who musters up the courage to make a telephone call or visit to an agency only to find them closed or inaccessible for some reason. Similarly, the philosophy of an agency or service in the community may not be consistent with the values or desires of the patient and family.

  • Some resources carry a stigma with them that may be unacceptable to some family members.

  • When recommending an outside resource, be sure that your goals for the referral are congruent with the patient's and caregiver's goals. For example, you may feel that marital therapy is indicated, but the family may be unwilling to examine these issues at this time.

  • Remember the importance of continuity of care. Within the bounds of confidentiality, facilitate communication among all agencies and resources that are involved with the family.


  • The social worker in your agency is an excellent source of information about identifying and accessing community resources. Project staff at the University of Pennsylvania have collected information about community resources for people with cancer and their families in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. This information is updated every six months. If you would like to receive a computer disk with this information, please contact Fran Barg at 215-898-2131. Other excellent sources of community resource information for families facing cancer can be obtained by calling the following:
    • 1-800-PA-CANCER
      Information about cancer and cancer related resources in Pennsylvania
    • 1-800-4CANCER
      Information about cancer, clinical trials, patient and public education
    • 1-800-ACS-2345
      Information about cancer, patient services, resources, patient and public education

    An additional good source of information is the blue pages section of the telephone book.

  • We have put together a guide to general community resources that may be useful for families facing cancer in the Philadelphia area. It is not an exhaustive list, but it may be a start for families who require assistance that is not directly cancer related. Again, a trained social worker may be your best source of information.

A Guide to General Community Resources


  • Public Housing
    An individual and/or family might qualify to rent public housing if they have a low income, and pass a police and credit check. The rent is based on a certain percentage of income. Public housing includes scattered site units (row houses) and apartment buildings (garden and high-rise) located throughout the city. There is a long waiting list for admission. Contact the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), 1401 Arch Street, 988-1453, for more information.

  • Subsidized Housing
    This type of housing means that the government pays part of your rent or house purchase price. Some subsidized housing programs are:

    Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Program
    This provides housing for families unable to afford such housing on their own. To qualify, an individual must be 18 or over, head of a household with one or more children, or a single person who is disabled. No more than 30% of gross household income is paid for rent. Housing may be chosen anywhere in Philadelphia, but PHA must approve the place and draw up the lease. PHA also gives an allowance for utilities. Call PHA at 988-2000 to apply.

    Philadelphia Housing Voucher Program
    This program provides rental assistance if you are homeless and living in a temporary shelter on a permanent basis because you have nowhere else to live. Call PHVP at 735-8624 to apply.

    Section 235 Program
    This program pays a percentage of your mortgage payments after you buy a house. The amount depends on your family size and income. Call Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement at 567-7803 to apply.

  • Housing for Disabled People

    Some people who are physically disabled have special housing needs. Various programs, such as the HOME Grant Program, lend money to remodel the home and make it accessible. The following groups are some of the organizations that offer housing, education and referrals for disabled people:

    • City of Philadelphia
      Office of Housing and Community Development
      Home Grant Program
      1234 Market Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107

    • Elwyn Institute
      Housing Information and Referral Center
      Home Adaptation Program
      4040 Market Street
      Philadelphia, Pa.19104

    • Housing Consortium for Disabled Individuals
      4040 Market Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19104

    • Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation
      1234 Market Street, 10th Floor
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107

  • General Housing Information

    If you have any problems with your housing, the following agencies may be of assistance.

    • Fair Housing Commission
      728 City Hall Annex
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107

    • Philadelphia Dept. of Licenses and Inspections
      Services and Complaints Section
      710 Municipal Building
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107

    • Homeowners Association of Philadelphia
      406 S. 20th Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19146

Financial Assistance

  • If an individual and/or family cannot support themselves, they may be eligible for public assistance, and/or food stamps. Contact your local County Board of Assistance or call 560-2547 to find out about eligibility for any of these programs.

  • If an individual is disabled at any age or ready to retire, he/she may be eligible for SSI or for Social Security. To find out about eligibility for these programs contact your local Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213. Locations of local offices in Philadelphia are listed below:
    • Downtown Office
      801 Arch Street
    • Germantown Office
      220 W. Chelten Avenue
    • Kensington Office
      1813 E. Hilton
    • Nicetown
      2929 N. Broad Street
    • Northeast Philadelphia
      7959 Bustleton Avenue
    • South Philadelphia
      1419 Oregon Avenue
    • Upper Darby
      67 Long Lane
    • West Philadelphia Office
      3901 Market Street, 2nd Floor
    • Woodland Office
      5616 Woodland Ave.

Adult Education and Employment

  • Adult education includes help with securing a high school diploma through the GED program, standard night school, remedial classes, and continuing education. The following programs represent a sampling of what is available to adults in Philadelphia.
    • Barry Volunteer School Center (GED Program)
      59th and Race
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19139
    • The Center for Literacy
      3723 Chestnut Street
      (and other locations in the City)
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19104
    • Centers for Adult Learning
      Community College of Philadelphia
      1700 Spring Garden Street
      Philadelphia, Pa.19130
      (locations in West, South and North Philadelphia)
    • Community College of Philadelphia
      GED Program
      1700 Spring Garden Street
      Philadelphia, Pa.19130
    • Community Occupational Readiness and Placement Program
      1217 Samson Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
    • Delaware Valley School of Trades
      1210 Race Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
      586-1950 ext.36
    • Fifty-Ninth Street Baptist Church (GED Program)
      59th and Pine Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19143
    • Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center
      1231 N. Broad Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19122
    • School District of Philadelphia
      Adult and Continuing Education Division
      427 Monroe Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19147
      (Locations throughout the area)
    • Urban Education Foundation
      4601 Market Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19139
    • West Philadelphia Community Center for Human Services
      5901 Baltimore Ave.
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19143

  • If an individual is searching for employment, the following organizations can be helpful.
    • Job Corps, Region III
      1920 Chestnut Street, Suite 100
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
    • Pennsylvania Dept. of Labor and Industry
      Office of Employment Security
      West Office
      5501 Chestnut Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19139
    • Private Industry Council
      One Suburban Station, Suite 1300
      1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
    • Urban League of Philadelphia
      4601 Market Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19104

Legal Assistance

  • At times individuals need legal assistance. If someone needs general legal help, one of the following organizations may be helpful:
    • American Civil Liberties Union
      Bourse Building, Suite 680
      21 S. 5th Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19106
    • can P.L.A.N.
      cancer Patient Legal Advocacy Network
      Nancy T. Wimmer, Esq.
      PO Box 0245
      Merion, PA 19066
      610-668-4295 (fax)

    The services of a can P.L.A.N attorney or advocate are free if you are a cancer patient or the financially responsible party of a person who has been diagnosed with cancer. They can assist with questions regarding insurance, SSI, SSD, employment, discrimination, school issues for children with cancer, issues under the Americans With Disabilities Act, etc.

    • Community Legal Services
      Sylvania House
      1324 Locust Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
    • Divorce Center
      1324 Locust Street
    • Law Center North Central
      3638 North Broad Street
    • Law Center Northeast
      207 Kensington Avenue
    • Law Center South
      1226 South Broad Street
    • Law Center West
      5219 Chestnut Street
    • Philadelphia Bar Association
      Lawyer Referral and Information Service
      1101 Market Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
    • Philadelphia Urban Coalition
      121 N. Broad Street, 6th Floor
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
    • Public Interest Law Center
      1315 Walnut Street, Suite 11632
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
    • Women's Law Project
      125 S. 9th Street
      Philadelphia, Pa. 19107


  • Insurance
    Many employers offer medical coverage as part of their employee benefits. The employer pays all or some of the monthly payment, and the employee pays the rest. Insurance plans differ, so it is important to find out what medical expenses are covered, how much is paid, and for how long. Most plans require the employee to pay the first 25% of any claim. In an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), employees pay about $2 for each visit to the doctor and about $2.50 for prescriptions. HMO's stress preventive health care, such as regular check-ups. An individual can only go to doctors participating in the HMO.

    If you have a low income and no medical insurance you may qualify for Medical Assistance. This State Program pays for your medical expenses. The color of the insurance card (either blue or green) determines what types of benefits an individual is eligible for. An individual can only go to doctors and hospitals participating in the program. Apply at the local County Assistance Office or call this number for more information 560-2547. To apply an individual must bring a birth certificate or other I.D., Social Security card, wage stubs, if working, and other proofs of eligibility, such as medical bills.

    There is now in the State a special insurance program for children. BlueCHIP is a children's health insurance program that covers children who are not eligible for Medical Assistance and have no other health insurance. BlueCHIP pays for regular check-ups, sick visits, immunizations, emergency care, outpatient surgery, dental, vision, hearing and prescription drugs. In-patient care is covered in conjunction with Medical Assistance. Coverage for eligible children is provided on a first-come first -serve basis as funding is limited. A child's age and family income will determine whether he/she is eligible for free insurance or low-cost insurance. For detailed information and applications, contact 1-800-822-CHIP.

Every resident of Philadelphia can receive medical treatment in district health centers. They provide free or low cost medical services to any resident of the city. Once you have registered and had a physical exam, you can go to your health center when you are sick. You can register at the health center that is most convenient for you.

City Health Centers

Strawberry Mansion Health Center 978-2400 2840 West Dauphin St
District Health Center #1 875-6570 1400 Lombard St
District Health Center #2 685-1800 1720 South Broad St
District Health Center #3 823-7500 555 South 43rd St
District Health Center #4 823-7600 4400 Haverford Ave
District Health Center #5 978-2930 1900 North 20th St
District Health Center #6 978-2803 415 West Girard Ave
District Health Center #9 685-2250 131 East Chelten Ave
District Health Center #10 685-0600 2230 Cottman Ave


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