Cancer Legal Resource Center

Oncology Nursing News, October 2011, Volume 5, Issue 6

The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) is a national, joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School Los Angeles.

The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) is a national, joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School Los Angeles. The CLRC provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to cancer survivors, caregivers, healthcare professionals, employers, and others coping with cancer.

A cancer diagnosis may carry with it a variety of potential legal issues relating to insurance, access to care and government benefits, consumer rights, estate planning, and employment.

CLRC Services

The CLRC provides a comprehensive array of free services in English and Spanish to individuals coping with cancer-related legal issues. The CLRC hosts a toll-free, national Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC) where callers can receive free and confi dential information about relevant laws and resources for their particular situation. Individuals may also access the Telephone Assistance Line by completing an online intake form on the CLRC’s website at

The CLRC website also features a variety of state and national resources in English and Spanish, including The HCP Manual: A Legal Resource Guide for Oncology Health Care Professionals. This guide serves as a reference on key topics to assist healthcare providers in navigating their patients through these systems.

The CLRC has provided over 235,000 people with information on cancer-related legal issues through our national Telephone Assistance Line and our activities in the cancer community. There is no other program in the country like the CLRC, which is why the American Cancer Society and many other national organizations refer their callers with legal questions to the CLRC.

Exclusive interview with

CLRC Director Joanna L. Morales, Esq.

Joanna L. Morales, Esq., Director of the Cancer Legal Resource Center spoke with OncLive Nursing at the recent National Coalition of Oncology Nurse Navigators 3rd Annual Conference. Morales discussed a variety of topics, including the need for oncology nurses to be proactive in asking their patients about cancerrelated legal issues. She suggested some potential questions nurses could ask their patients:

  • Do you understand how your insurance coverage is going to cover your treatment and how it might not?
  • Do you know what resources are available to help you navigate through your insurance coverage?
  • Do you have any trouble with your employer?
  • Are you concerned about going back to work?
  • Are you concerned about working through treatment and how the side effects of treatment might be affecting your ability to work?

Morales also described legislation that applies to legal issues concerning patients with cancer. “The most helpful laws for people with cancer are often laws that have to do with disability….[For example] we have laws in the employment arena like the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] and individual state fair employment laws, which are usually similar to the ADA. And then we have laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act that protect people’s ability to take time off from work [and] protect their insurance benefits if they get their benefits through their employer, and to be able to return to the same or a similar position [after treatment]. So it depends on the area of the law, but there are usually laws that either provide protections or provide access to benefits or programs.”

To view our entire interview with Morales, go to OncLive TV

In addition, callers may be referred to a member of the CLRC Professional Panel, which includes attorneys and other professionals from across the country, to provide free consultations for CLRC callers who may need additional information about their specific situation.

The CLRC also travels around the country to provide educational seminars, host Cancer Rights Conferences, and attend outreach events in the cancer community.

Cancer Rights Conferences

The CLRC is proud to host the 2011 Cancer Rights Conference Series in Chicago (June 24, 2011), Washington, DC (September 23, 2011), and Ann Arbor, Michigan (October 21, 2011). The Cancer Rights Conferences are free 1-day conferences where participants receive comprehensive information about the most common cancerrelated legal issues, including employment and taking time off from work, insurance options and navigation, genetic discrimination, and estate planning. These conferences are attended by patients, survivors, caregivers, healthcare providers, advocates, and business and community leaders. Attending attorneys, nurses, and social workers may be eligible to receive up to 9 hours of free CEU’s.

The Conferences have been very well received and have provided invaluable assistance to those who attended. As one attending healthcare professional from the 2010 Los Angeles Cancer Rights Conference remarked, “The information presented in this venue is immeasurably important to me in my role as an oncology-certifi ed RN, as a person, and as a lung cancer survivor. It has asked and answered questions I have wanted to ask or know the answers to. Thank you so much!”

Online registration for the CLRC Cancer Rights Conferences in Washington, DC, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, is available at www.

For more information about the services provided by the CLRC, please visit www.