Life with cancer isn’t just physically difficult, but also emotionally, psychologically and financially trying — for patients as well as their family. You can help provide the support they need to navigate those challenges and focus on their health.
Between treatment decisions, lifestyle disruptions, mounting medical bills and pervasive stress, life with cancer can be as distressing to a patient’s wellbeing as it is to their body.
In addition, people who lack reliable transportation, adequate health insurance coverage or community-based educational resources may be unable to access timely care or participate in clinical trials.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is committed to ensuring that financial, geographic or family circumstances don’t prevent anyone with a cancer diagnosis from getting the care they need. With our Integrative Medicine Program and a number of supportive services, we’re building a future where cancer care is not just medically effective but also supports the emotional, social and psychological aspects of the patient’s experience.
To be successful, cancer treatment must be accessible. In some cases, that means ensuring patients have housing throughout their care. We have two patient houses, which provide housing for patients who struggle to afford it while undergoing cancer treatment or are from out of town and need to live close to campus while undergoing treatment.
In other cases, accessibility means helping patients navigate the complexities of treatment. To ensure patients feel cared for throughout their journey, we are working to expand our patient navigation program, which provides our patients with culturally concordant and multilingual health education, reminders, support and accompaniment that serve our diverse population.
There’s more to cancer treatment than simply attempting to eradicate a tumor. Integrative medicine works to address issues that conventional medicine can’t. From wellness practices such as rehabilitative and pain-mitigating therapies to mindfulness-based stress reduction and dietary assistance, we offer patients a holistic approach to treatment that addresses negative effects of their cancer or treatment.
For most patients, undergoing cancer treatment is one of — if not the most — challenging and stressful experiences of their life. We’re committed to strengthening and expanding the services we provide to lessen that emotional, physical and psychological burden.
Our researchers, particularly at the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR), are examining how supportive care — from programs that address variation and disparities in care to options for reducing the financial burden for patients and their family — can improve outcomes. Their findings, published annually in the Community Cancer Care Report, are already informing strategies for reducing that burden and improving quality while controlling costs.
While this body of research is growing, there is much more to do and funding from federal sources like the National Institutes of Health is limited. We are working to build a robust program of research into the effectiveness and implementation of integrative therapies that manage or eliminate the adverse physical and psychological effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
Dr. Greenlee, the medical director of the Integrative Medicine Program at Fred Hutch, is a public health researcher and naturopathic physician who focuses on cancer prevention and control, cancer survivorship, obesity and cancer, and integrative medicine.
Dr. Shen studies social psychological factors that affect advanced-care planning and designs communication tools and interventions that facilitate it, especially for Latinos and others who experience health care disparities.
As co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research, Dr. Shankaran researches the impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment on patients’ and caregivers’ finances and develops strategies to lessen this impact.
Dr. Chow is an expert in cancer survivorship. His goal is to help survivors of childhood cancer and blood stem cell transplantation live healthier lives by better preventing, detecting and treating late effects of cancer therapies.