Supportive Care for Healing: (520) 694-2873
You just learned you have cancer. You feel lost or overwhelmed or wish for answers that are too long in coming. There are so many questions and decisions to make. Our team of oncology supportive care professionals understand what you are facing and are here to support you and your family. We are here to:
Collaborate with you and your oncologist and bring practical resources that educate and empower you.
Give you access to skilled staff to help you restore your energies and collect your inner resources so that you can make the necessary decisions for your care.
- Support you and your family members through all phases of your treatment and recovery.
Our first bit of advice is this:
Take a deep breath. Allow yourself to be supported.
Why is the University of Arizona Cancer Center an excellent choice for receiving your care? The UACC is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Treatment Centers in the nation. Our Comprehensive Cancer Center is dedicated to research in the development of more effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer and we do that by caring for you as a whole person, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Oncology Medical Social Worker
We recommend all of our new patients meet with a Medical Oncology Social Worker at the beginning of your diagnosis. Our seven Masters degree-level Social Workers are highly experienced and skilled and are available to you as advocates, for counseling, to connect to financial and support resources and they facilitate many support groups. Most importantly, they serve as a bridge to your medical care team which can be especially helpful during the uncertainty of a new diagnosis. Call 520-694-2873 and ask to be connected with a Social Worker.
Tucson Resources: UACC Patient and Panel of Tucson Cancer Experts Share Advice
Watch Resources for the Newly Diagnosed, an AZPM special production of advice by a UACC cancer patient, her family, and her doctors followed by a Panel Discussion of Tucson cancer experts from Bag It, UACC Supportive Care for Healing, and the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
Cancer Support Helpline: 1-888-793-9355
Assists patients as well as their friends and family with a variety of cancer-related concerns, providing short-term counseling and referrals to local community resources. The helpline is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday, and is available in English and Spanish. For more information, go to the Cancer Support Community.
Patients and their family members may experience many well-meaning individuals who give advice and this can feel overwhelming and result in confusion when you are trying to make decisions about your care. We would like to offer the following suggestions for navigating your way through all of the information and advice:
- ... unsolicited advice is often well-meaning and often is because support persons are uncertain of their role, what to say, and how best to support you. Giving advice might be a way to show support. Show them how to support you in other ways. Make a list and include things like meal preparations, walking the dog, rides to appointments, and watering the plants.
- ...it is an emotional time for you. Making decisions about your care can feel overwhelming. Using reliable sources of information based on science means understanding where to find this information. Websites with reliable information will end in .org, .edu. and .gov. Finding good and reliable information will ease your mind and help you consolidate your energies toward a decision that is right for you. We recommend the following sources of information:
Evidence-Based and Trusted Sources Based on Science
Memorial Sloan Kettering Botanicals and Herbs
Build a Team
It's normal to feel overwhelmed with the number and variety of doctors who are involved in your care. When you choose an oncologist at The University of Arizona Cancer Center, you are choosing a specialist. Cancer treatments are most effective when provided by specialists with knowledge of a particular disease. Your oncologist will assemble the right team of providers for your specific cancer.
Family members and trusted friends are an important part of your care and can attend appointments, take notes, and give you hugs.
Be your own Advocate and participate in the decision-making process. This will help you feel some stability and control and improve the quality of your life.
- Be assertive in getting your questions answered.
- Stay organized. You will receive a free Bag It when you start treatment.
- Know your health insurance benefits so you are not surprised with an unexpected charge.
- Surround yourself with those who can love and support you.
- Michelle Kirlew, a UACC patient shares her inspiring story. Hear how she is her own Advocate. Winning By Living: One Cancer Story (Arizona Public Media)
There is no shortage of wonderful and reliable resources for you. We hope this page and the additional list of resources below help you feel ready and capable to make the right decisions for you and receive the support you need. Go to our home page to learn more about Supportive Care for Healing and our many other services and supports.
- UACC Support Groups
- Online Support Groups: Association for Cancer Online Support Groups
- Complementary Therapies and Mind Body Medicine
- UACC Complementary Therapies and Classes
- UACC Mind Body Medicine: Eye of the Hurricane
- University of Arizona Community Cancer Connections: Directory of programs and services, Tucson integrative therapy providers, Arizona cancer-related events.
Children and Teens
- TuNidito - an organization in Tucson that offers family support groups with age-appropriate activities and topics.
- How to Tell your Children about Your Cancer Diagnosis
- CancerCare Resources for Teens
- Pima Council on the Aging - Family Support Groups for care of person over 60 years of age
- Cancer Hope Network
- Cancer Care
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- American Cancer Society
UACC Financial Counselor: 520-694-9004
Many foundations offering cost of living & co-pay assistance while a patient is in treatment. Some foundations may require a referral from a care provider. Please call UACC finance office at the phone number above for more information.
- Cancer-Care Co-Payment Assistance 866-552-6729
- NCI List of Support Organizations
- Cancer Care: A Helping Hand: The Resource Guide for People with Cancer. Order free book online
- Needy Meds: A Drug Discount Program
- Pink Diamond Fund for Women's Cancer
Wellness and Fitness
Better Than Ever: A grassroots effort by The University of Arizona Cancer Center designed to encourage participants to make fitness a regular part of life, and work to prevent cancer.