Hoag Oncology Support Services: Caring for the Whole Person
As a leader in cancer care in Orange County, Hoag Family Cancer Institute
provides the latest in diagnostic and treatment capabilities to the community.
Yet for more than a decade, in addition to progressive treatment, Hoag
Family Cancer Institute has offered a wealth of educational resources
and support programs designed to address the physical, psychological,
emotional, social and spiritual needs of cancer patients and those who
Support for patients and their families
Through its dedicated clinical oncology social work team, Hoag Family Cancer
Institute is committed to assisting patients and their families through
the challenges associated with coping with cancer.
Hoag’s comprehensive oncology support services include:
- Psychosocial assessment
- Counseling/psychotherapy for adjustment to and coping with cancer
- Support and educational groups
- Provision of information and referral to community resources, including
Hoag’s Hereditary Cancer Program, onsite registered dietitians and
palliative care team
- Self-management/self-care programs, including relaxation training, meditation
for stress reduction and Reiki
- Creative Expressions art program
- Education on cancer survivorship and fertility preservation
“Hoag Family Cancer Institute support services team is pleased to
offer a comprehensive program to our cancer community,” says Catherine
Bailey, L.C.S.W., supervisor, Hoag Oncology Support Services. “Our
patients’ well-being is a top priority, and through these services
we address the needs of both the patient and their support persons on
an emotional and psychological level."
All education and support programs are free of charge to Hoag Family Cancer
Institute patients and their families/support persons.
Empowerment through education
Well-informed patients are better equipped to navigate the journey through
cancer treatment and recovery. This is why Hoag Oncology Support Services
provides numerous educational classes to help answer the many questions
that come with a cancer diagnosis.
Hoag offers free educational classes on a variety of cancer topics, including
skin care during cancer treatment, lymphedema education and a variety
of comprehensive resources, including books, pamphlets, CDs, listings
of community resources and Internet access at the Resource Library, located
in the lobby of Hoag Cancer Institute.
Hoag Family Cancer Institute offers a comprehensive breast cancer educational
series—Breast Cancer 101. This six-week educational program is for
women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Each week, breast cancer patients
learn about the various aspects of cancer care, with topics such as: understanding
your pathology report, chemotherapy and radiation Q&A, lymphedema
prevention, nutrition and stress management. Registration for the class
series is required.
In addition to patients, family members and/or support persons are also
welcomed to take advantage of the educational classes and programs available
at Hoag Cancer Institute. Such was the case for Beverly Olander. In 2003,
Beverly’s husband Larry was diagnosed with lung cancer and was being
treated at Hoag Cancer Institute. “When we came to the cancer center
for Larry’s treatments, I always noticed all of the classes and
activities they had going on,” says Beverly. “Larry and I
decided to join in and try the meditation for stress reduction class.”
Meditation for stress reduction teaches patients and their support persons
techniques for coping with the stresses, demands and challenges of cancer.
This class is not a religious-based course, but instead focuses on the
management of stress and anxiety. It is held in a four-week series, plus
once a month for a refresher course, and is designed to improve quality
of life through both peaceful and empowering stress reduction exercises.
“Although I wasn’t the patient, Hoag Family Cancer Institute
understood that I too was going through the same ups and downs of life
with cancer,” explains Beverly. “This class enabled me to
reduce my anxiety and stress throughout my husband’s cancer treatment
and recovery process, and focus instead on the larger picture of life.”
Through each treatment and check-up Larry had, Beverly would refer back
to her meditation techniques to help keep herself calm in times of distress,
which also benefitted Larry’s state of mind.
A fitter image
Another important component of Hoag Oncology Support Services is the Fitter
Image exercise program. Hoag’s Fitter Image program offers a variety
of physical activities that are provided in a non-competitive and supportive
environment. Each class is fashioned to promote a sense of well-being
and is tailored to each participant’s ability. Individuals can join
classes at any point during treatment and can continue following recovery.
The fitter image classes include yoga, pilates, and strength training.
One of the most popular components of Fitter Image, Hoag’s yoga classes,
focus on stretching and breathing exercises that help cancer patients
improve strength and flexibility, while calming the mind and soothing
the body. “I was intimidated to take yoga at my regular gym,”
confides breast cancer survivor, Gerry Kawamura. “Yet, after receiving
a recommendation from my radiation oncologist, I decided to give Hoag’s
yoga class a try.” That one try got Gerry hooked. Diagnosed with
breast cancer in late 2005, Gerry remains a devoted yoga participant,
regularly attending the classes held throughout the week.
“Everyone in the class, especially the instructor, is so friendly
and welcoming,” continues Gerry. “These yoga classes have
become my weekly support group. This class has enabled me to connect with
other cancer patients and survivors and has provided me with a great network,
as well as the numerous benefits that come from yoga.”
One of the key benefits of yoga is greater flexibility. Gerry has experienced
this firsthand, and has shared with many of her friends and family how
yoga has helped her better recover from her lumpectomy and radiation therapy sessions.
“I look forward to my special yoga time each week. Besides stretching
and poses, yoga also has elements of meditation and controlled breathing
techniques,” shares Gerry. “I encourage everyone to try yoga
and experience the benefits!”
Cancer support groups provide mutual support and information for cancer
patients and their families. Facilitated by licensed oncology clinical
social workers and oncology nurses, discussion is geared to the issues
that cancer patients and their support network face from day to day.
Hoag Cancer Institute support groups include:
- Brain tumor support group
- Breast cancer support groups
- Gastrointestinal cancer support group
- Gynecologic cancer support group- Women Helping Women
- Lung cancer support groups
- Prostate cancer education and support group
- Bereavement support group
Special to Hoag is the gynecologic cancer support group, Women Helping
Women. As the only hospital in Southern California to provide this support
group, the program is designed for women with any type of gynecologic cancer.
Click here to learn more about Hoag's comprehensive Oncology Support Services.