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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 University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health 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, physical/occupational therapists, and pastoral care.
“Supportive 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,” says Kerry Tobias, DO, Medical Director of the Supportive Care and Survivorship Program.
Our program is available to all patients who are referred by their medical provider or who desire this service on their own. For more information about our program or to make an appointment, call 602.406.UACC (8222).
Supportive care at The University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s can help with the following symptoms.
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.
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.
Our cancer center 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.
Support groups are an important resource for cancer survivors and available throughout our community, as well as an intergral part of our supportive care program at the Cancer Center. Recommendations to support groups are provided based on a patient’s individual needs. Visit our support groups page for further details.
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.
For Cancer Center 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 Center 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.
For more information about the Supportive Care and Survivorship program at The University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s, call 602.406.UACC (8222).