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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.

General support

Emotional support

Local support

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.

Learn more here about our behavioral health services.

General cancer support

Online support

Financial support

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.

Triage Cancer

Education resources around finances, insurance, disability. A variety of informational videos on different topics.

Wellness support for cancer

Mind-body wellness

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.
    • Mondays 12 to 1:30 p.m. and Fridays 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • Instructor: Patti Stone, e-RYT500, C-IAYT 1000, TIYT, AYS, Certified Yoga Therapist. Call 503.708.8392.
    • Registration and medical clearance required, follow link at Sponsored by the Good Samaritan Foundation.
  • Yoga for Healing From Cancer.
    • Tuesdays 5 to 6 p.m.
    • Instructor: Patti Stone, e-RYT500, C-IAYT 1000, TIYT, AYS, Certified Yoga Therapist. Call 503.708.8392.
    • Registration and medical clearance required, follow link at Sponsored by the Meridian Park Foundation.
  • Qigong & T'ai Chi for Adults Diagnosed with Cancer.
    • Thursdays 10 to 11 a.m. Instructor: Wendy Tucker, ATR, CYT, Certified T'ai Chi, Qigong, Yoga Instructor. Call 503.277.8976.
    • Registration and medical clearance required, follow link at
  • Healing from Cancer Writing Groups.
  • Mindfulness Breath by Breath.
    • Contact Kimberly Carson, MPH, C-IAYT, at 503.245.9642 or
    • Free 60-minute classes for adults healing from cancer and their caregivers, at 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • 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

Talking to kids about cancer

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.

Social worker

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

"Helping children and teens understand when a loved one has cancer" from CancerCare:

  • 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.

Other resources

Wigs & head coverings

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.

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.

Cancer-specific resources

Bladder cancer

Brain cancer

  • 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 or 503.413.7932.

Breast cancer


Colorectal cancer

Esophageal cancer

  • Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association (ECCA). Links to Facebook and online communities for patient and caregivers for support and guidance.

Head and neck cancer

Leukemia and lymphoma

Liver cancer

Lung cancer


  • 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.

Ovarian cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Prostate cancer


Uterine cancer