Cancer Support and Survivorship Services
Cancer Support and Survivorship Services focuses on treating the whole patient, providing assistance with symptom management, supportive care and survivorship planning.
We work in tandem with your medical diagnostic and treatment teams through your entire journey.
Our primary focus is on your quality of life. As part of the UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, we're here to help you not only survive, but to truly live.
There are two parts to our services:
- Cancer support is for patients currently undergoing treatment for cancer.
- Survivorship services are for patients after cancer treatment.
Referrals may be made through your oncologist or healthcare provider.
Call 714-456-8000 to schedule a consultation or fill out an online appointment request form ›
About a third of cancer patients experience adverse symptoms along with their initial curative treatment. Our Cancer Support and Survivorship Services program is designed to help patients get treatment for these side effects and clarification about appropriate cancer and non-cancer therapies, along with surveillance and early detection of recurrence.
Patients who receive such supportive follow-up care report higher rates of well-being and lower rates of recurrence.
We conduct a formal assessment and administer quality-of-life surveys in order to formulate a treatment plan for each patient.
Cancer Support and Survivorship Services is a multidisciplinary, collaborative program led by:
Based on an assessment of your needs for support and/or survivorship, we make appropriate referrals for:
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Pain management
- Memory or concentration loss ("chemo brain")
- Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy
- Sex and intimacy issues
- Menopausal symptoms
- Diet and nutrition
- Palliative care
- Integrative health services
- Support services and financial counseling
- Spiritual care
- Applicable clinical trials
Cancer support is a service that complements a patient’s primary oncology care. Our focus is not on anti-cancer therapies, but instead on supporting and improving each patient’s experience and that of their loved ones.
Why is cancer support important?
Patients being treated for cancer often under-report their symptoms because they're focused on getting through their treatments, which are intensive. They often push aside their psychosocial experiences and other symptoms during cancer treatments.
We work with you to address all symptoms — physical, emotional, social and spiritual — that affect your well-being, with the goal of improving your quality of life.
How it works
Your oncologist or healthcare provider refers you to your program.
First, we meet with you for a holistic evaluation of all your symptoms and concerns, either from a physical, psychosocial or a spiritual perspective. Then we create a customized support plan based on your specific needs. This may include medications or a referral to other members of our support team, such as social workers, psychiatrists, nutritionists or spiritual counselors.
We also work with the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, part of UCI Health, to provide acupuncture for patients with neuropathy and menopausal symptoms or myofascial release for pain relief for areas of the body negatively affected or scarred by radiation or surgery.
Our survivorship program is for patients and their families after they have completed cancer treatments. We take a multidisciplinary approach for patients who are cancer-free but want to improve their quality of life and stay healthy.
Why are survivorship services important?
As many as 30% to 40% of cancer patients experience at least one debilitating symptom after completing their cancer treatment. Sometimes symptoms may develop as long as 10 years after treatment.
These symptoms may negatively affect the patient’s quality of life.
At UCI Health, we ask our patients: “How are you feeling now that we're finished? Let's see if there's something we can do to fine-tune your experience.”
How it works
Typically, patients are referred to the survivorship program by their oncology nurse or healthcare provider.
We start by conducting a holistic interview in order to understand your concerns and symptoms from all perspectives: physical, psychosocial and spiritual. From this, we develop a customized plan to address your needs. Your plan may include prescriptions for medication and referrals to team members like psychiatrists, social workers, nutritionists or spiritual counselors.
Our partner Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, part of UCI Health, provides acupuncture for patients with neuropathy and menopausal symptoms or myofascial release for pain relief for areas of the body negatively affected or scarred by radiation or surgery.
The team also provides a customized care plan that includes the recommendations for additional health and cancer screening, such as bone density management, colon cancer screening and optimal weight and dietary management.
At UCI Health, we are dedicated to scientific research as an important part of treating cancer and other diseases.
The Cancer Support and Survivorship team is collaborating with Lari Wenzel, PhD, and Chelsea McKinney, PhD, at UCI School of Medicine to investigate the use of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) as a way to improve communication between the patient and their providers as well as improve patients’ overall survival.
This information is collected via questionnaires that can be answered by patients either on paper or electronically. At UCI Health, we are integrating these questionnaires into the electronic medical record system.
At least five randomized peer-reviewed studies have shown that support and survivorship care improves patient survival.
At UCI Health, these questionnaires will help us better understand the relationship between the reporting of symptoms and outcomes.
Resources that may be helpful to you: