Coping With Cancer
Cancer brings with it a slew of challenges. Many people struggle with difficult emotions and conversations.
In this unit, we explore resources and opportunities for emotional and spiritual wellness through cancer. This includes:
- Practical and financial support for cancer.
- Wellness support and integrative therapies.
- How to talk with kids about cancer.
- Wigs and head coverings.
- Cancer-specific resources.
CMH's Oncology Social Worker
Mari Montesano, LCSW, OSW-C, 503.338.4589.
The Cancer Collaborative's oncology social worker provides support to help you adjust to your diagnosis, for caregivers and family. Get help connecting to local resources, setting up advanced directives, and understanding disability and social security.
CMH Behavioral Health Consultants
CMH has master's level social workers that work in the hospital and in clinics to work with patients and families. They have training and experience that allows them to help people who are struggling with different challenges.
Available in Astoria Primary Care, Warrenton Primary Care, Seaside Primary Care, Pediatric Clinic, Women's Center, and Specialty Clinics.
General cancer support
- American Cancer Society, 800.227.2345.
- American Society of Clinical Oncology.
- CancerCare, 800.813.4673. Wide variety of free support groups via telephone or online for people with cancer and their caregiver/family, including one-on-one online support with an oncology social worker. Support and education for both patients and caregivers, including telephone support groups, workshops, and financial assistance.
- Cancer and Careers, 646.929.8032. Helping you thrive at work through cancer treatment.
- Cancer Support Community, 888.793.9355. Free cancer support helpline, weekdays 6am-6pm, and weekends 6am-2pm. Offers many different support options and connections to resources, including supportive counseling over the phone, and financial navigation and counseling regarding the costs of cancer.
- Imerman Angels, 866.463.7626. Peer support for both caregivers and patients navigating the system. Request a mentor over the phone or online.
- National LGBT Cancer Network, 212.675.2633.
- Young Adult Support Group, Nora Larson, LICSWA, 503.231.2610. Support group for young adults with cancer, hosted by OHSU Knight Cancer Institute via Zoom at 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.
Cancer Support Community
Free cancer support helpline, weekdays 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Offers many different support options and connections to resources, including supportive counseling over the phone, and financial navigation and counseling regarding the costs of cancer.
Education resources around finances, insurance, disability. A variety of informational videos on different topics.
There is growing evidence in cancer research that incorporating activities that promote mindfulness into cancer care can improve wellbeing during and after cancer treatment.
The term "mind-body modality" refers to an activity that combines mental focus with controlled breathing and/or movement. Studies show positive changes in cancer symptoms and side effects for people who do yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture and hypnosis.
Classes through the cancer collaborative
Note: There are no in-person classes available due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many opportunities still exist remotely. Ask your cancer care team about what is currently available. See the materials tab for remote resources available. Search for upcoming classes.
- Acupuncture at the Cancer Collaborative. Acupuncture with Hilary Simila, L.Ac. Free to patients at the cancer center. Call 503.338.0943 to schedule.
- Reiki. Contact Luann Jacobs for virtual Reiki and guided mediation, 703.862.3682.
Integrative therapies through the Cancer Collaborative
- Aromatherapy. Ask your care team for options.
- Cooking with Community. Not currently available at the Cancer Collaborative.
- Look Good Feel Better virtual workshops. As a patient of the Cancer Collaborative, you can register for an online skin care and makeup workshop and receive a complimentary Look Good Feel Better makeup kit. Sign up and request your kit.
- Nutrition discussions. Ask your provider about talking with the oncology dietitian.
- Pet therapy. Not currently available.
- Spirituality services. Lori Blake, CMH Chaplain, will walk around the center and check in with patients as they are receiving treatment or waiting for a clinic visit. She can be reached at 971.286.0085.
- Support groups. Not currently available at the Cancer Collaborative.
Wellness activities at home
- Yoga for Adults with Cancer.
- Yoga for Healing From Cancer.
- Qigong & T'ai Chi for Adults Diagnosed with Cancer.
- Healing from Cancer Writing Groups.
- Mindfulness Breath by Breath.
- Virtual Reiki and Guided Meditation. Contact Luann Jacobs at 703.862.3682.
- Yoga 4 Cancer.
- Cancer Support Community. Yoga, cooking classes and recipes.
- Hearts Need Art. Free or donation accepted art and musical classes.
- Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Free classes yoga, art, support groups, healing circles.
Learn more about integrative therapies
Many different questions come to mind when dealing with a diagnosis of cancer, one usually being "what do I say to my children?" This can come up when a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, sibling, etc. is diagnosed with cancer.
An open and honest conversation with children about how it will affect the family is important. Being open and honest will allow children to feel more safe and secure in expressing their emotions. Every child will react and process differently, but it is important to help them understand that their feelings are normal and they have you to be there with them throughout this journey.
Our oncology social worker is available to talk with you at any point during this journey. It may be helpful to practice what you intend to say to the children in your life before you tell them about your diagnosis.
Advice on talking with kids about cancer
- Overview of Talking with Children and Teens about Cancer.
- Five Common Questions Kids Ask.
- How to Tell Your Kids.
- How Do Kids Respond.
- Six Basic Needs of Kids Whose Parent Has Cancer.
- Tools to Help Kids and Teens Cope.
- Questions for Our Panel of Experts.
Camps for kids
Camp Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent's cancer. Camp Kesem runs free camps across the country every summer for children ages 6 to 18. Camps are available in Seattle at the University of Washington and in Eugene at the University of Oregon.
If cancer treatment causes you to lose your hair, there are numerous options for wigs and head coverings.
Selecting a wig
We have access to wigs through our Resource Center. Call 503.338.4589 to set up a time to try some on!
Wearing a wig
These local salons are great resources to help with wigs.
- Casual Elegance. 137 S. Main Ave., Warrenton, OR 97146. 503.861.0131.
- Salon Boheme. 1055 Marine Drive, Astoria, OR 97103. 503.338.3864.
Look Good Feel Better offers workshops for women on skin care, makeup, and nail care techniques, as well as how to deal with hair loss using wigs, scarves, hats, hairpieces, and other accessories. Sign up for a virtual Look Good Feel Better workshop.
Purchasing wigs or head coverings
- TLC (Tender Loving Care) Direct is a not-for-profit website and catalog of the American Cancer Society. It offers wigs and other hair loss products (plus how-to information), as well as mastectomy products.
- Headcovers Unlimited specializes in comfortable, stylish, and high-quality headwear for hair loss due to cancer, chemotherapy, alopecia, lupus, and more. It offers a large collection of hats, scarves and head covers.
- American Bladder Cancer Society.
- Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, 888.901.2226. Online support community.
- Brain Tumor Support Group. Support for individuals, adult family members and caregivers. First Wednesday of every month from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Facilitators: Annette Raab, RN, OCN and Sara Butler, LCSW, OSW-C. Contact email@example.com or 503.413.7932.
- 4th Angel, 866.520.3197. Telephone support for breast cancer patients and caregivers.
- After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, 800.977.4121. Online/telephone support.
- CancerCare breast cancer support group.
- Reach to Recovery Program, 800.227.2345.
- Breast Cancer Support Group. Third Thursday of every month, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Facilitators: Sara Butler, LCSW, OSW-C 503.413.7932 and Margaret Hartsook, LPC, ATR-BC. Call 503.413.8404.
- Pink Lemonade Project. New breast cancer diagnosis, in treatment, or recovery: resources, support, and empowerment. Peer mentors, financial assistance, and retreats.
- Women's Cancer Support Group. Every second Monday of each month, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
- Advanced/Metastatic Women's Cancer Support Group. Last Thursday of each month, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Colorectal Cancer Alliance, 877.422.2030. Helpline by certified patient and family support navigators. Financial assistance programs, buddy programs and resource guides.
- Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association (ECCA). Links to Facebook and online communities for patient and caregivers for support and guidance.
Head and neck cancer
- Head and Neck Cancer Support Group. First Thursday of every month, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Facilitator: Julia Robinson, M.S. CCC-SLP. Contact 503.413.2841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, 866.792.4622. Patient helpline, online support community, financial resources, and education.
- Head and Neck Cancer Guide. Head and Neck cancer guide: resources for caregiver.
- Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC), 800.377.0928.
Leukemia and lymphoma
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 800.955.4572. Information specialist, financial support, online chat, caregiver support, provide education, peer to peer support, etc.
- American Liver Foundation, 203.506.5516. Provides information on support groups, education materials, etc.
- Blue Faery. The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association's "Blue Faery" offers educational information, support resources, and private online community for patients and caregivers.
- Smart Patients liver cancer forum.
- Lung Cancer Alliance, 800.298.2436 or email@example.com. Education materials, helpline and support, financial and other resources
- CancerCare for melanoma. Phone support group (15 week) that provides support, new ways to cope, practical information, communication between loved ones, increase feelings of hope. Website also has information on how to talk with children.
- Impact Melanoma support groups.
- Telephone support group open to everyone on the first Tuesday of the month 5:45 p.m. Facilitator: Jane Masters, LICSW, 513.319.9729.
- Caregiver support group every first Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. Kelli Braga, 978.922.3000, ext. 2710.
- "Billy's Buddies" mentorship program: Connects you with someone that has had melanoma and gone through treatment.
- CancerCare ovarian cancer patient support group, 800.813.4673.
- Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA), 212.268.1002. Woman to Woman program pairs patient with trained volunteer to provide support and guidance. Connect with Inspire is an online support community.
- Gynecological Cancer Support Group. Second Wednesday of every month 12 to 1:30 p.m. Facilitator: Kate Leonard, PsyD, 503.292.9873, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CancerCare Pancreatic Cancer Caregiver Support Group, 800.813.4673.
- Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 877.573.9971 (helpline). Provides education, online/telephone support groups, etc.
- Male Care. Provides different types of prostate cancer support groups for online.
- Prostate Cancer Support Group. Peter Bennett, LCSW, 503.418.3544 or email@example.com. Virtual support group for men with prostate cancer at 5-6:30pm on the first Tuesday of the month.
- Us TOO Portland Support group, 503.384.9952. Online support groups.
- CancerCare sarcoma cancer pages. Online support groups, education and podcast information.
- Sarcoma Alliance. Peer-to-peer network/support and educational information.