Patient and Family Services
The Siteman Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Missouri and is ranked among the top cancer facilities in the nation by U.S. News & World Reports. Multidisciplinary care teams of different subspecialties consult and plan your treatment, in conjunction with your desires and needs. You are not just a diagnosis, but a person who has cancer. Care is personalized because your doctors talk to each other and work with you to develop treatment options for your specific situation, often down to the genetic level.
No one wants a cancer diagnosis. But cancer patients who choose the Siteman Cancer Center receive all the services surrounding cancer diagnosis and treatment that patients and their families might need.
Siteman covers all the bases from helping you find your way around our facilities to providing support for the anxiety and financial worries a major illness can entail. Knowing how cancer emotionally impacts cancer patients and their families, Siteman offers a free comprehensive counseling service to help you through it.
Everything from fertility preservation to pain and symptom management, cancer information and support groups has been anticipated and planned for. Please review the sections below for services you might need. If you don’t find what you are looking for, you may contact us either by email or call us toll-free at 800-600-3606.
Care navigator program
The Siteman Cancer Center Navigator Program provides volunteers who meet new patients at the beginning of their first appointment at Siteman’s main campus and accompany them to physician offices and testing locations. For patients with mobility problems, wheelchairs are available.
Patients who have requested the services of a volunteer navigator are met in the lobby of the Center for Advanced Medicine before their first appointment. The navigator will already have a copy of appointments scheduled for the patient that day. After a brief tour, the navigator will escort the patient to the first appointment. Navigators will stay with patients throughout the day, if necessary. Between office visits, the navigator can take patients and families to the Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center, the gift shop or even the cafeteria.
To request a Navigator, call 314-747-9095 or 800-594-0417.
Counseling and emotional support
The Siteman Cancer Center provides state-of-the-art medical care. And because we believe in treating the whole patient, we also provide counseling support to help patients and families through the cancer journey.
- Provide education, counseling and referrals to specific resources.
- Teach coping skills, help with problem solving and provide an outlet for talking about difficulties.
- Offer counseling services to address grief or concerns for couples or families.
- Help connect patients with support groups, peer support and community resources.
To fully meet patient and family needs, we collaborate with specialists in case management, financial counseling, genetic counseling and spiritual care. We also work with the Oncologic Psychiatry Service, which provides treatment for Siteman patients who need psychiatric care.
Cancer patients and their family members can schedule an appointment to talk about their situation and discuss which services might suit their needs best. One appointment may be all that is needed to receive the necessary support.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 314-362-7844 or visit the Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center on Siteman’s main campus in the Central West End area of St. Louis.
Click on the links below for more information about emotional concerns associated with cancer treatment.
Chaplains are available around the clock to provide spiritual care and counseling for patients and their loved ones. They offer support, prayer and access to local religious groups and sacraments. Two chapels are located on the Barnes-Jewish Hospital campus. Religious services – including Catholic masses, interdenominational prayer services, Muslim Juma prayer services and Jewish Sabbath services – are offered on a weekly basis and on special religious occasions. For more information or to request a visit with a chaplain, call 314-362-5200.
Interpreters are available 24 hours a day for patients who need help with language assistance or have special cultural needs. Deaf interpretation, on-site foreign language interpretation and telephone foreign language interpretation are available. For assistance, call 314-747-5682.
Social workers are available to help patients and families cope with the challenges and problems caused by cancer. They provide assistance with such issues as lodging and transportation, rehabilitation and hospice care, and advance directives. They also identify community resources related to housing, employment, legal issues and financial concerns. For more information or to reach a social worker, call 314-362-5574.
To contact social workers at our satellite facilities please call the following:
South County- 314-286-1106
West County- 314- 996-3368
St. Charles County- 636-916-9974
Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center
The Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center at Siteman Cancer Center’s main campus in St. Louis is open on a walk-in basis to assist anyone whose life has been touched by cancer. The center serves patients, their families, medical professionals and others who need current information on cancer prevention; early detection, diagnosis and treatment; coping; and community resources. For more information about location and our resources and services, click here.
Services are also available on a limited basis at Siteman’s satellite cancer centers.
Financial and logistical support
Health insurance may help cover some of the costs related to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Whatever type of insurance you have, you want to get the most from your plan. You will receive the best services if you know the benefits, coverage and limits of your plan. A Siteman Cancer Center financial specialist is available to answer questions about health insurance and identify financial resources for expenses related to cancer care. For more information, call 314-454-8064 or e-mail.
In addition, social workers are available to help patients and families cope with challenges caused by cancer. They provide assistance with such issues as:
- Lodging and transportation
- Hospice care
- Advance directives
- Medicare and other insurance questions
They also identify community resources related to housing, employment, legal issues and financial concerns. For more information or to reach a social worker, call 314-362-5574.
Palliative care and symptom management
Palliative care services are available to patients and their families who are facing advanced illness. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers and chaplains who work together with a patient’s surgical, radiation or medical oncologist to provide additional support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and is provided along with curative treatment. The team offers coping strategies and support and help managing symptoms such as pain, nausea, fatigue and anxiety. Palliative care provides a specialized approach to medical care for people with serious illnesses, focusing on relief from symptoms of the illness and the treatment, and involving both the patient and family members to improve quality of life.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that palliative care is about foregoing treatment for the disease and preparing to die. Its real goal is to help you manage your symptoms and treatment effects so you can tolerate treatment better. The palliative physician, as a consultant to the doctors managing medical care, makes recommendations on extended pain management and any other support the patient or family needs. He or she takes the proposed treatment plan and looks at how it integrates into the family’s life, taking into account family status, socioeconomic issues, and spiritual needs in the plan of care. You can request a palliative care referral from your doctor or contact the service directly. They also provide assistance with end-of-life issues, if needed.
Advanced pain management
Patients with cancer may experience pain for a variety of reasons – as a result of tumor growth, advanced cancer or treatment side effects. At the Siteman Cancer Center, we are dedicated to helping patients deal with pain. For patients who experience persistent, chronic pain, help is available through the Pain Management Center. The center is staffed by Washington University School of Medicine anesthesiologists who specialize in pain management.
Services available at the Pain Management Center include evaluation and treatment in a coordinated care setting. When needed, patients are seen by teams that may include an anesthesiologist, psychologist, physical therapist and registered nurse. Staff members meet weekly to discuss complicated cases.
Because chronic pain is a complex problem, individualized treatment plans may include the following:
- Medications and other medical treatments
- Nerve blocks, vertebroplasty, spinal analgesics or other procedures
- Relaxation/biofeedback therapies
- Physical therapy
The Pain Management Center is located in the Center for Advanced Medicine on Siteman’s main campus. Referrals are accepted from physicians only. For more information, call 314-362-8820.
Another branch of the center is located on the campus of Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital near Siteman’s Creve Coeur location.
Sometimes patients undergoing cancer treatment have side effects that affect how they are able to eat. Licensed registered dietitians at Siteman are available to provide general nutritional counseling during treatment and recovery, assessment of nutritional needs, techniques for coping with the side effects of cancer treatment, and information about nutritional supplements, complementary nutritional therapy, prevention of weight loss and the role of diet and nutrition in reducing cancer risk. To contact a dietitian, call 314-454-7619.
Sexual health and fertility
Fertility, or being able to be pregnant with your own biologic children, may not seem important if you are facing chemotherapy or radiation for a cancer diagnosis or other disease process, but it may become an important quality of life issue once your treatment is complete.
Chemotherapy or radiation can damage a woman’s oocytes (eggs) as well as a man’s ability to make sperm. For many patients facing these treatments, though, fertility can be preserved prior to, or sometimes during, treatment. The specialists at the Washington University Infertility and Reproductive Medicine Center will work with your oncologist to help you understand the options that are available to you.
Male Fertility Preservation: the Center offers cryopreservation (freezing) of sperm for male patients. Once frozen, sperm may be preserved for many years. The samples are typically stored onsite in our andrology laboratory and can be used for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization when desired.
Female Fertility Preservation: Several options for female fertility conservation exist, including:
- Embryo Cryopreservation: This method requires both eggs and sperm to create embryos. Eggs are removed from the woman during a minor procedure, after hormone stimulation. The eggs are fertilized with sperm and the resulting embryos are frozen. Once cancer treatment is over and the woman is ready to conceive, an embryo is placed in the uterus.
- Egg Cryopreservation: This process does not require the presence of sperm. A woman can choose to have unfertilized eggs removed and frozen in the same way as above.
- Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation: While this procedure is still considered experimental and remains under study, the process involves laparoscopic surgery to remove an ovary to be frozen for future use.
To talk to a fertility specialist about your options, call if you feel that fertility preservation is right for you, call 314-286-2400.
Genetic testing and counseling
About 5 percent to 10 percent of all cancers are hereditary. Geneticists and genetic counselors at Siteman help people who have a family history of a particular type of cancer assess their cancer risk. To learn more about this service and whether you should consider risk assessment, click here.
The Siteman Cancer Center offers a variety of support programs for patients and families at all three of our locations. These programs range from support groups and exercise programs to educational sessions and pet therapy. Check our calendar for upcoming dates and more information.
We also partner with local organizations to offer cancer support groups for patients and families. Learn more about those groups by clicking below:
- American Cancer Society Support Programs and Services
- Cancer Support Community Support Programs and Services
At Siteman Cancer Center, our Survivorship Program focuses on maintaining a lifelong connection with all of our cancer patients so that you can embrace life to the fullest. This includes offering services that meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of you as our patient and your family or caregivers.
Our team in the Survivorship Program can link you to onsite or community resources, such as free counseling services and cancer support groups, or direct you to case managers who can assist with financial concerns. We also know about the possibility of lingering side effects after treatment, such as fatigue and memory loss, and can answer your questions about available options.
Just call the Survivorship Program office at (314) 747-1792 or learn more here.
Clinic for adult survivors of childhood cancer
The Lifelong Outcomes Clinic provides long-term care aimed at preventing, detecting and treating delayed complications of pediatric cancer and addressing the mental health concerns of adult survivors of childhood cancer. The clinic evaluates patients and refers them to cardiologists, pulmonologists, psychologists, social workers or other experts, depending on each patient’s needs. Individuals also receive a follow-up care plan based on the earlier cancer diagnosis and the potential late effects of cancer treatment. The clinic can help patients share the plans with their current physicians.
The Lifelong Outcomes Clinic is at Siteman Cancer Center-South County, 5225 Midamerica Plaza, St. Louis, Mo., 63129, near Interstate 55 and Butler Hill Road (map). To make an appointment, call 314-747-1171. Referrals from health-care providers are welcome, too.
Office of Patient & Family Affairs
Should you or your family have a question or concern about your experience at our hospital, we would like to hear from you. Help us see things through your eyes as we strive to deliver exceptional care to our patients.
We suggest you first discuss your concern with your nurse, the department manager, or your doctor. If the concern remains unresolved the office of Patient & Family Affairs staff is available Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm to help you.
Click here for more information. You may also contact us at 314-362-6100 Monday through Friday 8 am-5 pm, email a liaison at email@example.com, or stop by the Office of Patient & Family Affairs on the main floor of South campus and the third floor of the Center for Advanced Medicine. In the evenings or on weekends, please call the hospital operator at (314) 362-5000 and ask for a nursing supervisor.