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Cancer Support Services

Cancer is not only a physical ordeal; it is also an emotional one, affecting patients, their family and friends. Support services are available at Rush to help patients and their loved ones cope with the psychological, emotional and spiritual effects of cancer.

Emotional and spiritual support

  • Social work services: A licensed clinical social worker meets with patients and family members to find out your needs and provide the necessary support.
  • Psychotherapy and other psychosocial oncology services help patients, caregivers and families manage stress and physical symptoms.
  • Support groups, including ones offered through our partnership with Gilda’s Club Chicago.
  • Workshops and activities, many on the Rush campus, offer opportunities for patients and families to share their feelings and experiences with others who are living with cancer. Some of these are offered through our partnership with Gilda’s Club Chicago, including activities such as jewelry making, chair yoga, art for relaxation and other relaxation activities.
  • Help removing roadblocks to treatment: Rush partners with the American Cancer Society to provide patients with a patient navigator who helps remove roadblocks to treatment (e.g., financial, lodging or transportation issues).
  • Wigs, hats and prostheses resources: The patient navigator also helps patients connect with resources that provide wigs, hats and prostheses during treatment.
  • Peer support: For patients with leukemia or lymphoma, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society partners with Rush to offer supportive peer volunteers. The program connects patients to a carefully selected, well-trained, peer volunteer who, having been through a similar experience, can offer a special kind of support.
  • Pastoral services are available from chaplains at Rush to support the spiritual and emotional health of patients and families.

Medical support

  • Complementary, alternative therapies — such as acupuncture and massage therapy — are available through the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program to reduce the mental and physical stresses that often accompany traditional cancer treatment.
  • Nutrition counseling can help patients improve their health through diet. A registered dietitian provides individualized recommendations to meet health goals, such as managing treatment side effects or improving diet quality.
  • Palliative care services aim to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. These recently expanded services focus on reducing pain, stress and other symptoms.
  • Occupational therapy services for patients with lymphedema (lymph fluid buildup) can improve quality of life for patients with the following symptoms of lymphedema:
    • Swelling
    • Aching
    • Skin rash
    • Inability or difficulty performing daily activities

Financial support

  • Help removing roadblocks to treatment: Rush partners with the American Cancer Society to provide patients with a patient navigator who helps remove roadblocks to treatment (e.g., financial, lodging or transportation issues).
  • Pharmaceutical costs: Programs are available to provide financial assistance for pharmaceutical costs, such as chemotherapy. For more information on this program, please email Jane_Reich@rush.edu.
  • Charity care and financial assistance: Patients at Rush may be eligible for our charity care or other financial assistance programs.

Support for friends and family

  • Support for children and young adults: Gilda’s Club Chicago offers support to children whose parents are undergoing cancer treatment.