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5 Facts to Know about the Cancer Survivorship Program at Siteman Cancer Center


Cancer touches so many lives. Maybe you just got a cancer diagnosis or maybe you are someone who loves a person getting treatment at Siteman Cancer Center. Certainly, you will need assistance from friends and family. But your network extends beyond your close relationships; Siteman extends holistic resources and programs as part of cancer care, too. If you are affiliated with Siteman through a diagnosis, treatment or are a caregiver for someone who is, the Cancer Survivorship Program is designed to offer support.

1.) You don’t have to call yourself a “cancer survivor.”

Hearing “cancer survivor” can spark all kinds of emotions in people facing cancer, and not all of them are positive. It is normal to wrestle with the concept. In a recent episode of “This is Cancer,” Jay, a survivorship program participant, shared the discomfort he felt with the term. “I coined the term fighter because I’m just starting on my journey…I wince a little when someone uses the word survivor because I don’t feel that I’ve reached that level yet,” he said. Other patients who are in the day-to-day seeking treatment at Siteman might not call themselves survivors yet. However you think about yourself and cancer, you are welcome to join.

2.) Designed to meet needs that shift.

No two cancer journeys are exactly the same. The emotional and physical impact and side effects to cancer treatment are so different, there are many programs designed to meet those unique needs. Rochelle Hobson, RN, MSN, CHPN, manager of Siteman’s Survivorship Program explains the program this way. “The survivorship program tackles the health and wellbeing of someone who is diagnosed with cancer…We work on programs and just helping people navigate what resources they need as they tackle their cancer.” So for someone experiencing nausea, there is nutritional counseling. If a patient wants to lower their lung cancer risk by changing behavior, they could join the smoking cessation program.

3.) You are already “in” the program.

Some patients are surprised to learn that they are considered part of the survivorship program right away. From the moment of a diagnosis, patients are eligible to participate and the offer of support continues during and after their treatment. Because the resources are meant for all patients, there isn’t any extra steps patients need to do to be included. Physicians and care team members suggest programs that will be helpful as they see needs coming up. Plus patients can ask for support at any point, too.

4.) Your support system can get support, too.

Siteman recognizes that when someone gets a cancer diagnosis, it touches many different lives. Caregivers start to navigate a new world alongside the person they love, and it can be isolating, stressful and impact physical and mental health negatively. To address this, the program supports caregivers’ mental health needs. They are eligible for individual counseling sessions with psychologists and/or social workers who have specialized training in cancer care and the unique challenges caregivers are experiencing every day. With the expert’s help they can learn coping strategies, stress management, and communication skills to aid them as they navigate a new, complex reality. There are also support groups that help foster community, allowing connection with peers experiencing the same thing.

5.) Offering care for as long as you need.

Whether you are an adult who beat cancer as a child, are recently in remission, or just got a diagnosis, there are programs specifically designed to meet you were you are. Cancer and cancer treatments can cause long-lasting impacts on your daily life, so the Survivorship Program encourages you to get in touch if you are having any issues. The need for on-going follow up is common, so programs are designed for not just monitoring but support throughout your entire lifetime. Lingering effects after treatment on sexual health, mental health, memory, and more can be directly addressed by oncology experts. And any new symptoms that arise and impact life deserve attention and support even if it is 5, 10, 15 or more years past your remission.

Learn more about Siteman’s Survivorship Program: