6 Ways the Cancer Support Community Serves Non-English-Speaking Patients

April 7, 2022
The Cancer Support Community offers educational resources about myeloproliferative neoplasms in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published on April 23, 2021, and has been updated.

At least 350 languages are spoken in homes across the United States. Yet, despite our country’s linguistic diversity, it may still be challenging for some people to find healthcare resources and support in their native language. CSC is committed to supporting efforts that advance health equity for all. In recognition of National Minority Health Month, we’d like to highlight some of the diverse support services and educational materials we provide. While all our resources are available in English, we also offer some resources and services in Spanish and several other languages.

Here, we share 6 ways CSC is working to support non-English-speaking patients in cancer care.


1. The Helpline

Anyone impacted by cancer can reach out to our Cancer Support Helpline. The Helpline provides free navigation for cancer patients or their loved ones in both English and Spanish. We also provide help in over 200 languages through a professional translation service. When needed, a live translator can join the Helpline call to provide proficient, nonbiased translation. We’ve provided translation support for callers in languages that include:

  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • Greek
  • Korean
  • Punjabi
  • Vietnamese

Whether you are a cancer patient or survivor, caregiver, or loved one to someone with cancer, the Helpline is here to help you navigate your questions, concerns, and needs. Reach out today through our live web chat service or give us a call at 888-793-9355.

Meet Irma, one of our Helpline navigators. Irma is a social worker and can provide navigation in Spanish.

2. Educational Resources

We create free educational resources for cancer patients and caregivers, from fact sheets to booklets to videos. Many of these resources are also available in Spanish and address a range of topics related to cancer care, including:

  • Cancer types and treatments
  • Coping strategies
  • Financial concerns
  • Clinical trials

Explora nuestros recursos en español

CSC also provides educational materials about myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. These resources cover topics ranging from treatment options to communicating with your healthcare team.


3. Online Support Community

Our free digital support community, MyLifeLine, connects cancer patients and caregivers to their family, friends, and others like them for social and emotional support. MyLifeLine members can create a private support website where they can document their journey for friends and family. They can also join private discussion boards on diverse topics related to the cancer experience. We recently introduced a Spanish-language version of MyLifeLine for patients and caregivers, including 2 discussion boards in Spanish:

  • Hacer Frente a Los Efectos Secundarios
  • Apoyo al Cuidador

Construya su comunidad en línea en español.

Empieza hoy


4. CSC Network Partners

Our services are available at 196 locations worldwide, including CSC and Gilda's Club centers, hospital and clinic partnerships, and satellite locations. Program offerings (in-person and virtual) include support groups, yoga classes, referrals to resources, and educational workshops — all free of charge to anyone impacted by a cancer diagnosis.

Many of our locations offer programming or events for Spanish-speaking participants. Explore their individual websites for more details:

A Hispanic couple smiles while stretching on a yoga mat in a yoga studio

5. Cancer Insurance Checklist

CSC partnered with 19 cancer and advocacy organizations to develop the Cancer Insurance Checklist, which is also available in a Spanish-language version, Guía de Cobertura Médica para Personas con Cáncer. This easy-to-use guide is designed for anyone who has cancer, has had cancer, or is at risk for cancer. If any of these conditions describes you, the Cancer Insurance Checklist can help you shop for insurance on your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace. You can compare insurance plans, compare costs, and choose the plan that works best for you.


6. Research

Our Research & Training Institute conducts psychosocial, behavioral, and survivorship research that is put into real-world practice, including cancer care programming and education. We created CancerSupportSource® to ensure patients and caregivers receive individualized support and education. CancerSupportSource is a distress screening, referral, and follow-up questionnaire for people with cancer. The tool — a brief series of questions — helps identify key sources of cancer-related distress and unmet needs for patients. Upon completion, each patient or caregiver is then connected to information and support to address their unique needs. CancerSupportSource is used at our network partner locations, at hospitals and healthcare partner locations, and through our Helpline.

An improved Spanish-language translation of CancerSupportSource was recently developed and tested in 2 studies with Spanish-speaking patients and staff members. This enhanced tool includes the ability to screen for clinical depression, anxiety, and other forms of distress among Hispanic and Latino/a patients and survivors. New Spanish-language educational and support materials were also created and tested to help patients access local resources to address sources of distress in their daily life.

A third study is underway to identify what organizations and healthcare providers need to deliver CancerSupportSource most effectively to Spanish-speaking clients. This will allow us to provide best practice recommendations for CancerSupportSource users. These important enhancements to the Spanish-language version of the tool are just one example of our efforts to ensure that CSC is serving all people impacted by cancer.


As an organization, we believe in equity for all, including in healthcare. We fight every day to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect and have the opportunity to live healthy and safe lives. Find out more about our commitment to health equity from CSC’s Eucharia Borden.