A cancer diagnosis can have a significant impact on your emotional well-being, relationships, and other important aspects of your life. Duke Health offers medical family therapy through its Duke Cancer Patient Support Program. Our specialists help you and your loved ones manage stress, improve communication, and build stronger relationships. The services are free for Duke patients and their families.

To Obtain a Referral to a Medical Family Therapist

You can talk to your provider or you can self-refer by phone or email.

What Is Medical Family Therapy?

Medical family therapy is a special approach to mental health care. It recognizes that being diagnosed with and treated for a serious illness affects many parts of your life. 

Cancer and cancer treatment can have negative impacts on your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships. Often these stressors occur at the same time or can be connected. For instance, feeling tired and sick after chemotherapy may make it difficult to participate in family activities, which can affect interactions with your spouse or children.

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Specially Trained Medical Family Therapists

Duke medical family therapists are licensed mental health providers who work with you, your partner, or your family. Their goal is to help you feel better during this stressful time by assessing your interactions with your loved ones and giving you tools to improve communication. Our therapists are trained to work with a specific cancer group, which allows them to understand the physical setbacks you may be experiencing and the types and effects of treatment. It also promotes a closer relationship with you, your therapist, and your cancer care team.

The Process
As a Duke cancer patient, you and your loved ones can receive these services for free. We provide confidential, safe care to address your concerns and help you feel better. We can work around your schedule and needs to make accessing care easy. Medical family therapists communicate with other members of your cancer care team including doctors, nurses, dietitians, social workers, and others to provide comprehensive care.

Duke Cancer Centers

Medical family therapy is available in person or via telehealth at Duke Cancer Centers throughout the Triangle.

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

This page was medically reviewed on 06/18/2024