Integrated Cancer Support Services and Palliative Care


Cancer is a devastating disease that can have significant psychosocial implications for patients and their families. While many patients experience some level of anxiety and depression, 33% of individuals diagnosed with cancer experience severe psychological distress.1 Hoag Family Cancer Institute’s Integrated Cancer Support Services take a “whole-person approach” to patient education and physical rehabilitation and offer an extensive range of outlets that help patients cope and find meaning in their cancer experience.

The support team of physical and occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, oncology social workers, registered dietitians, nurse navigators, respiratory therapists, and chaplains provide services to patients at both the Patty & George Hoag Cancer Center in Newport Beach as well as at Hoag Cancer Center Irvine. Support services are free of charge to patients who receive their care at Hoag.


Classes and Workshops facilitate therapeutic outlets and education that can assist in side effect management and optimizing quality of life during and after cancer. The following classes and services are available at Hoag Family Cancer Institute:

  • Art & Creativity for Healing
  • Breast Cancer Orientation Class
  • Brighter Image offers private, professional consultations
  • with an esthetician specializing in working with patients on the physical changes that accompany cancer treatment.
  • Caregiver Support
  • CLIMB Program: Supporting the emotional needs of
  • children with a parent or caregiver who has cancer.
  • Counseling Services
  • Creative Expressions Art Program
  • Dayan Qigong: Mind-Body Care for Cancer Patients
  • The Financial Bridge Program provides funds for basics
  • like groceries, gas and utilities for qualified patients experiencing significant financial burden from the cost of cancer care.
  • The Fitter Image Exercise Program is a curriculum of yoga,
  • pilates, and cardio exercise classes tailored to patients in active treatment and survivorship.
  • Free-Flow Writing Workshop
  • HealthRHYTHMS Drum Circle
  • Healthy Eating Class
  • Meditation and Guided Imagery
  • My Best Self: Understanding the Effects of Fatigue
  • and Stress on a Cancer Diagnosis
  • Reiki
  • Skin Care During Cancer Class with Dr. Dore Gilbert
  • Spirituality Series

Nurse Navigators

Nurse Navigators are a unique asset to Hoag’s comprehensive cancer care. Hoag Family Cancer Institute’s six Nurse Navigators each focus on one or two types of cancer and are closely integrated with the multidisciplinary team, attending tumor boards and frequently communicating with the patient’s physician team. Their role in navigating each patient through the cancer continuum and healthcare system overcomes barriers to care and ensures patients and their families receive support and education from screening and diagnosis through survivorship and thrivership.


Rehabilitation Services at Hoag help return patients to their highest level of functioning and optimize outcomes by integrating skilled treatment techniques with patient and caregiver education. The following rehabilitation services are available for cancer patients:

  • Physical Therapy including Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy including Swallowing Therapy
  • Lymphedema Therapy including Lymphedema Education for breast cancer patients on early signs and symptoms of lymphedema at the beginning of radiation treatment. Identifying and addressing signs of lymphedema as early as possible can minimize its effects

Dietary Support

Hoag Family Cancer Institute’s two dedicated registered dietitians, Denise Lohman, M.P.H., R.D., C.S.O., and Jessica Tamashiro, R.D., C.S.O., meet with patients before, during and after treatment to provide nutrition assessments and evidence-based nutrition intervention, symptom and side effect management, tube feeding education and management, and nutrition education. They work closely with patients to help them heal from therapy and minimize the risk of cancer recurrence through nutrition support.

Respiratory Care

Using the latest technology for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, Hoag pulmonologists and respiratory therapists work with patients to improve and restore lung function affected by cancer treatment.


Hoag’s Palliative Care Program, CARES, improves the lives of patients and their families by providing relief from the symptoms and stress of serious illness like cancer. Under the direction of Vincent Nguyen, D.O., C.M.D., a board-certified hospice and palliative care specialist, the CARES team is an important component of Hoag Family Cancer Institute’s comprehensive approach to cancer care.

Using evidence-based pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches, the CARES team partners with oncologists or the treating physician to manage pain, discomfort, and other symptoms that accompany cancer treatment such as nausea, dyspnea, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and wound care. The team offers several specialized pain management techniques that are not widely available.

The CARES program is one of only a few palliative care programs in Southern California with a full scope of both inpatient consult services as well as a functioning outpatient clinic, which is located in the Patty & George Hoag Cancer Center in Newport Beach. Hoag is a founding member of the Palliative Care Quality Network, a quality and learning collaborative created at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to establish benchmarks for best practice palliative care. The Circle of Life Award for Excellence in Palliative Care was awarded to Hoag’s program in 2005.

1 S. Kaasa, U, Malt, S, Hagen, E, Wist, T, Moum, Kvikstad, A. Psychological distress in cancer patients with advanced disease. Radiotherapy and Oncology, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 193–197, 1993.

For more information call: 949-722-6237