Cancer support services

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Cancer diagnosis and treatment can be a difficult time for you and your loved ones. Our cancer patient support program provides services throughout the cancer experience — from suspicion of a cancer diagnosis through the time of diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and survival, as well as through the circumstances surrounding end of life.

Therapy dogs lift Duke patients' spirits (Video)

Duke cancer support for you and your family

We believe quality comprehensive cancer care involves attending to issues beyond the scope of traditional models of medicine. We are committed to treating your whole person, not just your cancer. That care extends to your family and your support network, because we know cancer touches the lives of those surrounding you. As a testament to our values, most of our cancer support services are provided at no additional charge to you and your family.

If you or loved one is being treated for cancer at Duke, our cancer support services include:

  • Smoking cessation program for people with cancer. Our new Quit at Duke program meets the specific challenges of cancer survivors who smoke. You'll benefit from expert guidance, a range of treatment options, and follow-up care.
  • Therapy and counseling for individuals, couples, and families. Our therapists provide crisis counseling, ongoing scheduled therapy sessions, and unscheduled supportive counseling in waiting rooms, exam rooms, and hospital rooms.
  • Monthly cancer support groups. Our professionally facilitated support groups give you and your family members the opportunity to share your experiences, gather information and resources, and participate in educational programs. We offer disease-specific support groups and support groups for cancer patients, family members, and children. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.  
  • Self-image resources. Located on the main level of the Duke Cancer Center, the Belk Boutique is a 1,000-square-foot store that provides wigs, hats, turbans, and scarves for free to patients who are losing hair as a result of cancer treatment. Our professional volunteers and therapists also offer educational materials, community resources, and counseling to help with self-image issues.
  • Cancer physical rehabilitation. Our blended focus on fitness, stress management, and nutrition provide patients with the tools and support they need to maintain their strength, stamina, and positive outlook.
  • Recreation therapy. Our nationally certified recreation therapists help you and your family enjoy and employ your creativity and personal drive in your fight against cancer. Our recreation therapy activities, interventions, and techniques are offered free of charge.
  • Cancer nutrition. Our registered dietitian/nutritionists specialize in working with people with cancer. We help you prevent malnutrition, restore your digestive health, minimize the side effects related to your cancer treatment and work with you in survivorship. For more information, call 919-613-6379.
  • Child-life services. With a strong background in child development and family systems, our child-life specialists help children and their families overcome some of life’s most challenging events, particularly those related to cancer treatment and hospitalization.
  • Ways to cope with cancer’s emotional effects. We offer psychiatric consultation and comprehensive treatment for an array of emotional and psychological problems associated with a cancer diagnosis.
  • Survivorship support. The Duke Center for Cancer Survivorship offers a number of programs that help patients understand the long-term and late effects of cancer, as well as how to live a fuller life after treatment.
  • Volunteer services. We have more than 275 volunteers trained to work with you and your family members. They provide conversation and comfort, offer refreshments, and help you find locations and resources in the clinics and hospital. They also serve as liaisons with counselors and the medical staff, and listen to your concerns. Our cancer support service volunteers play a critical role in the day-to-day activities at the Duke Cancer Center. 
  • Pets at Duke. Our animal-assisted therapy program is an effective psychotherapy intervention that has been shown to aid stress and depression. It also provides a sense of companionship that can combat feelings of isolation, and maximize health outcomes.

Learn more about our cancer support programs.

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