Help for new patients, survivors, and families
The cancer experience is life-changing for patients and their loved ones. Cancer patients need support before, during, and after their treatment. At the MedStar Health Cancer Network, our goal is to provide compassionate and professional care to individuals affected by cancer, promote the healing process, and treat the whole person.
Our genetic counselor and team of highly trained social workers, dietitians, and chaplains work closely with patients, family members, and loved ones to make sure they have access to the resources they need during the cancer journey—whether they are educational, financial, emotional, or spiritual. Most of our services are free for MedStar Health Cancer Network patients.
Our services focus on building strength, resilience, and hope—giving patients the skills to take control of their lives. We offer support groups, one-on-one counseling, educational workshops, and nutrition and exercise programs. Associates work one-on-one and in groups with patients and their loved ones.
Support Groups & Survivorship
Rehabilitation can improve the quality of life for people being treated for, or who have completed, treatment for cancer. Rehab can improve strength, decrease pain, treat lymphedema, and much more. If you have an impairment or discomfort related to your cancer or cancer treatment, talk to your provider to see if rehab could help you. Click here for more information on Cancer Rehabilitation.
Many patients who have a family history of cancer are now considering genetic testing. Our certified genetic counselors work with patients to determine if they are candidates for genetic testing and help them cope with any medical, psychological, financial, or other issues that may result. Patients who test positive for an inherited cancer gene are offered options in medical management, including screening and risk reduction. Click here for more information on Genetics Counseling.
MedStar Health started the first cardio-oncology program in the Greater Baltimore/Washington, D.C., metropolitan area nearly a decade ago to address the heart problems that can occur as a result of some cancer treatments. Our team, comprised of specialized cardiologists and oncologists, focus on the cardiovascular care of patients throughout their cancer journey. Click here to learn more.
The cost of cancer care can be a significant financial burden. It is important to understand your insurance benefits and ask for help when you need it. Our financial counsellors are trained to assist with any questions or concerns you may have about the cost of care, and can help determine if you may qualify for financial assistance.
Our image services are focused on helping cancer patients regain a positive self-image. Services include breast prosthesis, demonstrations of cosmetics, skin care treatments, and hair replacement as well as wardrobe and makeup techniques. We also offer Look Good Feel Better, a free program from the American Cancer Society designed for women dealing with hair loss and skin changes from chemotherapy and radiation.
We offer a variety of integrative therapies to support the healing of the mind and body, including massage therapy and therapeutic yoga. These services are available at several MedStar Health Cancer Network locations.
Advice from a dietitian can help you manage symptoms before, during, and after cancer treatment. Nutrition counselling helps patients optimize their treatment. Plus, good nutrition and healthy eating aids in recovery and helps patients achieve and maintain a better quality of life.
In addition to one-on-one counseling, we offer oncology nutrition classes throughout the year providing tips and ideas on how to make healthy and delicious meals.
Psychosocial and pastoral counseling
Dealing with cancer requires a supportive team. Psychosocial and pastoral counseling provide patients and their families with support coping with the many issues beyond the physical that often accompany a cancer diagnosis.
We regularly host a variety of support groups and retreats to provide individuals who are living with cancer, cancer survivors and those who love them with the opportunity to share their experiences with others. These events are held at locations throughout the MedStar Cancer Network.
Survivorship planning and counseling
Our commitment to your health extends beyond your initial treatment. Many cancer survivors find the transition back to everyday medical care difficult after years spent under the care and guidance of cancer specialists. We work with you through this process and follow up with you on a regular basis after the completion of treatment to ensure your long-term health.
For additional resources and more information on Survivorship learn more from the National Cancer Institute.
Nurse navigator - your healthcare guide
To guide you in your healthcare journey, we provide free access to a navigator, who is a registered nurse and is well versed in the continuum of care for cancer patients. Our navigator can be your helping hand in providing you and your family with the support services needed to ensure the best outcome. During this challenging time, it is helpful to have a guide—someone who can help you navigate the complex and confusing world of a cancer patient. In addition to the caring staff of doctors, nurses, and technicians who will provide top-notch treatment for your cancer, your cancer care navigator will be your personal guide for your journey through the many tests and treatments you will encounter.
Some ways our navigator can help you out:
- Answers questions and provides education, such as symptom management and treatment options.
- Provides support and encouragement to you and your family.
- Assists with the coordination of your cancer care.
- Works closely with the other members of your healthcare team to provide personalized and high-quality care.
Psychosocial oncology support program
Having cancer can bring distress to many aspects of a person’s life. From the fear and anxiety associated with a diagnosis, to family concerns, work issues, and financial matters, the cancer journey is not a welcome one. At MedStar, you will find an oncology health care team dedicated to providing both excellence in medical care and also one which is committed to supporting you as a person living with the experience of cancer. Our oncology clinical social worker offers this support to patients, families, and caregivers from the time of diagnosis through all phases of the cancer journey.
Meet your Social Worker: Social workers offer support to patients, families, and caregivers in the many ways cancer affects life. Some concerns we can assist you with include:
- Adjustment to and understanding of your diagnosis
- Defining your goals for care
- Coping with fear, anxiety, sadness, depression
- Family and relationship issues
- Changes in thinking, behavior, functioning
- Finding hope
- Making meaning, spiritual questions
- Transitions in care
- Quality of life issues and palliative care
- Communication and coordination of care
- Guidance on longstanding problems complicating care
- Advance directives and care planning based on your goals
- Practical issues such as working during treatment, disability matters, finding financial resources, insurance, transportation, etc.
Cancer education, support, and wellness services
We offer a variety of cancer services including education, support, and wellness. Get the support that is right for you, with services on and off campus.
On campus services:
- New Patient Chemotherapy Orientation Meeting – For patients starting chemotherapy, a special appointment is offered to assist you in understanding your care routine and managing side effects. You will become familiar with each aspect of your care, the key staff involved to see or call regarding questions and concerns, and to learn your way around our campus.
- Individual and Family Counseling and Consultation Appointments – See our Psychosocial Support discussion regarding help with coping with cancer, family, and work matters, etc. and accessing practical help.
- Gentle Yoga for Cancer Survivors — Gentle Yoga is a class held weekly for cancer patients in treatment or for those who have completed treatment. A caregiver of the patient attending is also welcome to attend. The teacher, Susan Young, MS, is an experienced certified yoga instructor. Registration is not required but we do ask that you call ahead to let us know you plan to attend. Please dress comfortably. Yoga mats are provided if you do not have one. The class is free of charge and is located on our campus, ground floor, Conference Rooms A&B, #G21. Available for free weekly on Thursday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on a first come, first serve basis per space available.
Integrative Medicine — Our newly established Center For Integrative Medicine offers a range of restorative wellness sessions both individually and in group format. Acupuncture, massage, relaxation and guided imagery therapy, meditation, and Reiki are among the services offered.
Psycho-educational workshops and seminars are offered throughout the year on such topics as working through cancer treatment, applying for disability, and finding cancer resources for financial matters.
Stop Smoking Help is available to you. We meet individually with a patient to plan a path most helpful to assist you to quit smoking. Please also discuss this with your oncologist and care staff.
Off campus services
Hope Connections for Cancer Support offers support groups for people with cancer and their caregivers, educational workshops with top oncology professionals, stress reduction, and nutrition classes and opportunities for people affected by cancer to connect with and support each other. Learn more about Hope Connections program and classes.
- For any questions regarding specific cancer support services, (breast, colorectal, gastro-intestinal, lung, prostate, lung, leukemia/lymphoma/multiple myeloma), Caregiver Support, Family and Children Support, Young Adult Support, Loss, Bereavement Support, and American Cancer Society services, please contact the Cancer Navigator Nurse at 301-774-8693.
Cancer resources and support
- Survivors Offering Support (SOS)
Through our Psychosocial Oncology Program, we are able to offer comprehensive services from the patient's time of diagnosis through survivorship. The following are included:
- Cancer support groups
Cancer Survivorship care and resources
Support for Young Adults in partnership with The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults
- Nutrition Education and Counselling
- Language Interpretation and Translation Services
- Patient Navigation
- Financial Counseling
- Social Work Services
- Emotional support for cancer patients and families
- Crisis intervention for cancer patients and families
- Mental health assessment for cancer outpatients
- Counseling and psychotherapy for patients and families
- Referral services for home care, hospice, disability, insurance
- Educational offerings (alleviation of patient suffering, quality of life issues for the cancer patient, cancer as a family affair, coping through the cancer journey, pain management, living well with lymphoma, handling financial matters)
Expert rehabilitation care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our rehabilitation specialists.
Every year, cancer survivors and supporters gather to celebrate and share their amazing stories of perseverance, courage, and inspiration. We are excited to share photos and videos of our annual celebrations. Click below to view.
In the News
Breast Cancer Survivorship - WMAR Think Pink Housecalls
Ways to Help
The MedStar Health Center for Integrative Medicine provides patient-centered care, focusing on whole person health. The inclusion of mind, body, and spirit in this context allows our practitioners to help patients achieve optimal health and healing. Integrative Medicine uses approaches from other healing traditions combined with modern conventional medical practices. Learn more