Cancer support services
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.
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:
- Individual, couple, and family counseling. Licensed medical family therapists provide crisis counseling, ongoing scheduled therapy sessions, and unscheduled supportive counseling in waiting rooms, exam rooms, and hospital rooms.
- Monthly cancer support groups. Professionally facilitated support groups give you and your family 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. The Belk Boutique, located on the main level of the Duke Cancer Center, provides wigs, hats, turbans, and scarves at no charge to women and men 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.
- Help for children. Our child-life specialist helps children and their families overcome some of life’s most challenging events, particularly those related to cancer treatment and hospitalization. Our KidsCan! program supports children ages four to 18 who have a parent or significant caregiver who has been diagnosed with cancer.
- Psychiatric consultations. We offer psychiatric consultations and comprehensive treatment for the emotional and psychological programs that can be associated with a cancer diagnosis.
- Palliative care. Duke palliative care experts help you experience relief from the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. No matter your age or stage of your illness, we work closely with you and your doctors to help you navigate your healthcare and understand your treatment options. Our goals are to help you gain physical, emotional and psychological strength, and ensure you and your family experience the best possible quality of life.
- Recreation therapy. Certified recreation therapists help you and your family enjoy and employ your creativity and personal drive in your fight against cancer. Activities, interventions, and techniques are offered at no charge.
- 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.
- 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.
- Smoking cessation program for people with cancer. Our 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.