Unfortunately, many cancer patients don't discover their illness until it's reached the point where it can't be cured. Terminal cancer patients receive treatments that are focused on comfort and quality of life rather than cures. One of the most effective environments for terminally ill patients is hospice (hoss-piss) care, which is most often provided in a patient's home, but can also take place in a hospital, long-term care facility or a freestanding hospice center--a living area similar to a retirement home that caters to the needs of the terminally ill. Hospice care is designed to treat and control pain so that patients are as comfortable as possible. Additionally, hospice focuses on the needs of the families with support and counseling. Many health insurers, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, cover the costs of hospice. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization was formed in 1978 to oversee the quality and management of hospices in the United States. For more information, call them at 1-800-658-8898. Other forms of housing are also available. Families of young cancer patients, for example, often stay at Ronald McDonald houses while children are being treated at local hospitals. Additionally there are many non-profit organizations that also offer housing to cancer patients. Sometimes these programs are part of a study to develop new cancer research, which means patients may receive cutting edge treatments. For more information about housing programs, contact your oncologist.