can take its toll not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
This is why embracing a cancer care program that goes beyond the surgeons
who remove tumors and the oncologists who manage clinical therapies is
vital and an integral part of survivorship.
Many community hospitals, including Hoag, are participating in a national
specialized oncology certification program that embodies this comprehensive
approach to care.
Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation (STAR) Program takes a holistic approach to battling cancer in an effort to make treatment
more manageable and less burdensome for patients.
Many patients fighting cancer don't think to bring up concerns about
fatigue, pain, depression or feeling spiritually unsettled, and often
they can feel isolated, fearful and uncertain.
In many cases, patients submit to the idea these feelings and experiences
are simply a part of what it means to go through treatment, but this doesn't
have to be the case.
You don't have to suffer just because you have cancer.
STAR Program encourages
medical professionals from across disciplines, including physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech
therapists, dieticians and mental health professionals, to team up and
devise a comprehensive course of treatment to address complications that
can negatively impact a patient's quality of life.
Any physician, therapist or nurse who might come in contact with a cancer
patient is trained to look beyond the scope of their specialty and consider
additional ways to improve care.
Pain management, increasing strength and energy, supporting emotional health
and improving daily well-being are all part of this multi-disciplinary
approach to cancer care.
The STAR program also advocates for educating patients so they might better
understand the impact of their cancer diagnosis and can ask for help if
their overall health is suffering.
Therapies that address physical discomfort such as swelling or chronic
pain might be a supplemental part of their cancer program, and engaging
the mental and emotional health of a patient, whether through art classes,
meditation or counseling, can help patients feel more connected and better
able to take on treatment.
No matter the prognosis, cancer state or phase of recovery, the STAR Program
can help because fighting cancer should not mean forgoing your overall
health and well-being.
Cancer patients need not suffer to survive and must truly be cared for
is director of Rehabilitation Services at Hoag.
and is the Palliative Care Manager and a licensed clinical social worker at Hoag.