CancerCare has been providing free support services for nearly four decades to those managing the emotional, practical and financial challenges of cancer in New Jersey At both the state level and in their national parent organization, staffers have been navigating the COVID-19 world just like everyone else.

Director of Regional Programs Kathy Nugent, who oversees program development for New Jersey and Connecticut, said call volume is up 30% since mid-March.

"Not only are they dealing with their cancer but they're also dealing with COVID and not being able to be as close as they might have been with family and friends, doing the things that they normally would be doing," Nugent said. "It's kind of layer on layer of grief that these patients and caregivers, as well as our bereaved clients, are dealing with."

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Services are equally available to patients, families, and the bereaved, and in this age of isolation, Nugent said emotional support and counseling are in high demand.

The group also provides limited financial assistance to patients in active treatment, helping ease challenges like transportation, home care, and child care. And there is a foundation specially designed to cover co-pay costs.

In New Jersey specifically, CancerCare employs seven social workers, six of them full-time, and also runs various meal delivery and home cleaning programs throughout Bergen, Essex and parts of Morris and Passaic counties.

The workers oversee several types of support groups — including for Spanish-speaking residents — education workshops, and case management services that help patients navigate and find services in their communities.

The group also supplies wigs for patients in need of them, that selection process having gone virtual, and hosts a camp for families with children who have suffered cancer losses ... obviously, in non-COVID years.

Nugent emphasized that all of these services are free, and that CancerCare will consult with any cancer patient with any diagnosis at any stage, plus their caregivers too.

Call the CancerCare helpline at 1-800-813-4673 or visit for more information.

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