Cancer Wellness & Support

Cancer Wellness & Support at Virginia Mason

Cancer Rehabilitation Services

The Floyd & 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.

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.

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.

Local Support Groups

Learn more about the partnerships we have within the community.