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Survivorship and Supportive Care

At Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, we have supportive care ready for every patient at every stage of your cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment. We provide you with emotional, physical, and spiritual support through survivorship. We’re here to help you strengthen your body, nurture hope, and enrich your spirit. Additionally, we recognize that the cancer experience does not end after the conclusion of intensive cancer therapy, because some cancer-related issues can continue for years after treatment. That’s why in addition to supportive care, we also have educational workshops, and we offer a host of support groups.

What is the Survivorship and Supportive Care Program?

A cancer “survivor” is anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, living with cancer, in remission, or free from cancer. The Supportive Care and Survivorship Program at the Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center provides care to enhance a cancer survivor’s quality of life at all stages of their disease.

Supportive care means providing care for all aspects of a survivor’s physical, mental, psychosocial, and spiritual health throughout their cancer journey. It is meant to keep pain and other symptoms controlled, and help with daily physical activities. Supportive care may also be referred to as palliative medicine – a subspecialty that delivers this personalized care along with a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, physical/occupational therapists, and pastoral care.

Supportive Care and Survivorship Program is available to all patients who are referred by their medical provider or who desire this service on their own. The care is intended for anyone with cancer who is currently in treatment for their disease or symptoms, as well as those without evidence of disease. For more information about our program or to make an appointment, call (602) 825-2039.

When is survivorship and supportive care needed?

As one of the few centers with a dedicated Supportive Care Program, Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s has a team dedicated to providing support for patients and caregivers. We evaluate our patients to assess their mobility, function, pain, and even their support system at home. As a part of their complete workup we’re able to determine if they need support and assistance associated with:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Lack of mobility
  • Balance issues or falls
  • Neuropathy
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lymphedema
  • Shortness of breath

What are the benefits of survivorship and supportive care?

By working with our expert clinical support team, our patients have positive experiences that sometimes provide significant improvements very quickly. Our supportive care program can help with:

  • Maintenance of lifestyle and function
  • Increased mobility
  • Reduction of pain or cancer pain management
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduction of symptoms from treatment
  • Enhanced quality of life
  • Improved mood and sociability
  • Ability to reach patient goals
  • Adjusting to side effects

Supportive Care Services

Nutrition Services

Our outpatient oncology dietician offers free nutrition education to cancer survivors and their caregivers. Consultations include individualized nutrition plans specific to cancer diagnosis, education and follow-up visits.

Pain and Symptom Management

Our supportive care team will work with you to provide you with medication and a treatment plan for your pain and other symptoms. These will change as necessary based on your individual needs as you go through your cancer journey.


Occupational and physical therapy are available to improve both the function, mobility and strength of cancer patients. Rehabilitation can help overcome limitations caused by cancer and cancer treatment—including fatigue, sleep issues and pain. Rehabilitation can also increase your ability to care for yourself and reduce support needed from caregivers.

Social Work

Our Cancer Institute provides social work services that will help empower you, your family and caregivers through all phases of your cancer journey. The social worker can provide counseling, support, education and resources that help meet your unique needs for care. Social work services can help incorporate strategies for learning how to live life as a cancer survivor by understanding how diagnosis and treatment can impact one’s life.

Lifestyle Management 

Anyone ever diagnosed with cancer knows managing one’s daily activities is important. Attend our monthly Lifestyle Management workshop series to gain health and wellness tips in an encouraging and supportive environment. Workshop topics change monthly and sessions are facilitated by clinical experts in social work, nutrition and physical therapy who specialize in treating oncology patients. Classes are open to all.

Lymphedema Management

Some cancers or cancer treatment can cause lymphedema which is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in tissues that causes swelling in the extremities and/or torso. Specialized lymphedema therapy is available to treat this in order to decrease the discomfort and debility it can cause.

Coordination of care should you ever need to be hospitalized

For Cancer Institute patients who may be admitted as inpatients to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, a palliative medicine team in the hospital will collaborate with the Cancer Institute Supportive Care and Survivorship program to provide the same supportive services during your hospital stay as you receive in our cancer center as an outpatient. Both teams will work toward your transition home from the hospital in order to provide you with the best possible care.

Patients of Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s know they are receiving precision medicine from a multidisciplinary team of experienced cancer experts.