Survivorship & Support

Cancer Wellness Program at Virginia Mason

Cancer Rehabilitation Services: The Floyd and Delores Jones Cancer Institute offers a complete range of rehabilitation services to meet the needs of each individual patient. Services include physical medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation psychology, speech therapy and vocational rehabilitation. Common problems treated by the cancer rehabilitation team include:

  • Loss of strength
  • Decreased stamina
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased ability to function
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Difficulties coping
  • Self-image changes
  • Speech and swallowing problems
  • Work-related issues

Patient Navigation/Coordination: Individualized assistance offered to patients, their families, and caregivers to help overcome barriers to care, whether through the health care system or the environment, and facilitate timely access to quality medical and psychosocial care from before the final diagnosis is determined through all phases of the cancer experience. Patient navigation/coordination is available to address barriers to timely diagnosis, treatment and optimal quality of life.

Palliative care: Palliative care, also known as supportive care, refers to patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering (National Quality Forum). The availability of palliative care services is an essential criterion of cancer care, beginning at the time of diagnosis and being continuously available throughout treatment, surveillance, and when applicable, during bereavement.

  • Supportive care is specialized care for people diagnosed with a serious illness. The goal of supportive care is to improve a patient’s quality of life by providing relief of symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping, among others. It helps patients gain the strength to carry on with daily life. It improves their ability to tolerate medical treatments. And it helps patients have more control over their care by better understanding their choices for treatment options and to define their goals.
     
  • Supportive care works with a patient’s oncologist as well as nurses, chaplains and other specialists to provide an extra layer of support and to help patients live as actively as possible throughout their illness. It is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Supportive care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness.

Support Services at Virginia Mason

Oncology Social Work Services/Psychosocial Distress Screening: Cancer is a complex disease process that affects patients in a variety of ways. Patients experience psychological, social, financial and behavioral issues that can interfere with their treatment plan and adversely affect their outcomes. To address the psychosocial issues experienced by patients with cancer, the 2007 report of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Cancer Care for the Whole Patient:  Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs, emphasizes the importance of screening patients for distress and psychosocial health needs as a critical first step to providing quality cancer care. According to the NCCN, distress should be recognized, monitored and documented and treated promptly at all stages of the disease. Our dedicated oncology social workers are available to help patients and their loved ones throughout the course of treatment.

Psychiatry and Psychology Services: Virginia Mason offers outpatient psychiatry, psychology and social work counseling services to patients. Learn more.

Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction: In addition to physical changes that can affect sexual performance, cancer survivors often experience changes in their body image and feelings about sexuality following their diagnosis and treatment.

Virginia Mason's Section of Urology specializes in helping men and women with these changes; their specialized care team has been a leader in the treatment of sexual dysfunction for many years. In addition to helping with body image and emotional concerns, Virginia Mason provides state-of-the-art treatment to address physical needs. Learn more.

Pelvic Floor Center: Virginia Mason's Pelvic Floor Center is nationally recognized in helping patients with continence issues. Highly respected physicians and specialized nurse clinicians thoroughly assess your condition to suggest the best solution to fit your needs and lifestyle. Pelvic Floor Center physicians have researched and launched many of the newer techniques for treating incontinence, which are now in widespread use across the country and around the world. Learn more.

Survivorship Clinic: The IOM and National Research Council 2005 report, From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor:  Lost in Transition, recommended that patients with cancer who are completing the first course of treatment be “provided with a comprehensive care summary and follow-up plan that is clearly and effectively explained.” The recommendation suggested that these plans would help cancer survivors who may otherwise get “lost” in the transitions from the care they received during treatment through the phases of their life or stages of their disease course.

Surviving cancer has a unique and very personal meaning for each individual. Adjusting to life beyond cancer, often referred to by many individuals as, their “new normal” life, can bring on varying emotions, questions and uncertainty. The Cancer Survivorship Clinic at the Cancer Institute works with patients on staying healthy, dealing with lingering side effects and/or facing new problems and challenges.

Spiritual Care: Our non-denominational chaplains are available to provide counseling, compassionate listening, crisis intervention, grief and bereavement resources as well as patient advocacy.

  • Catholic Hospital Ministry provides services for patients in the Catholic Church. These include baptisms, blessings, communion, sacrament of the sick and anointing. You may request Catholic services through the Spiritual Care Department or directly by calling Catholic Hospital Ministry at (206) 382-3492 or call the hospital operator.

Financial Counseling: The Cancer Institute has a financial counselor onsite to help patients understand their health care coverage.

Integrative Medicine Services: Monthly group sessions are offered on site by Astrid Pujari, MD, a physician trained in both naturopathic and western medicine. Topics discussed include:

  • Nutrition
  • Supplements
  • Cancer
  • Mind-body practice
  • Holistic medicine

In addition, Dr. Pujari and other practitioners offer seminars on using illness as a means of transformation.

Nutrition Services: Oncology patients are seen in the Nutrition Services Department, Lindeman Pavilion, Level 1, for one-on-one appointments, or upon request, in the Outpatient Infusion Center located on the Buck Pavilion Level 2, or in the Radiation Oncology Center located in the basement of the Buck Pavilion. Access to clinical dietitians can be provided by Nutrition Services throughout the Seattle Main Campus.

To support Virginia Mason's Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Clinic (CPCC), there are three or more dedicated appointment times every Tuesday on the Buck Pavilion, Level 7, for patients to see a dietitian while attending the CPCC. Nancy Tyler is the CPCC contact for this purpose. She can arrange a specific appointment type to assist scheduling the proper time sequence, description and location for the CPCC nutrition visits. For more information, contact Nancy Tyler at (206) 583-2282.

Appearance and Cancer: This free service for Virginia Mason patients is designed for participants experiencing appearance changes due to cancer treatment or specific illness. The 60-minute consultation covers practical suggestions for hair loss, skin care, clothing choices and more.

Skin Treatments: The Medi Spa at Virginia Mason takes pride in an integrated approach to healthy skin. The team of specialists work together to offer services and products to help you look and feel your best. Licensed clinical aestheticians (skin care therapists) offer a full range of in-office treatments. Learn more.

Genetic Risk Assessment and Counseling: Cancer prevention requires recognition of risk and intervention to reduce risk. Identification of inherited cancer predisposition is part of this risk assessment, provided onsite by Cathy Goetsch, ARNP.

Support Groups: Breast Cancer Reconstruction Support Program, Look Good … Feel Better, Prostate Cancer Networking Group

Survivorship Informational Resources

Cancer Specific Informational Resources