Cancer Support Resources

I’m pleased to offer these resources, information, and suggestions that can help people who are going through cancer. Some of them are local to Hampton Roads/Southeast Virginia, and some of them are national resources.

On this page, you can find links to organizations that help cancer patients; guidance about massage therapy and cancer; tools to find cancer care supplies; sites for cancer education; and emotional support for people with cancer & their caregivers.

If you have any questions, if you have ideas for additional cancer support resources that should be included, or if you discover a malfunctioning link, please let me know!

Organizations that help cancer patients

Cancer Care Foundation of Tidewater: Their motto is, “We fight cancer with kindness.” One of their most well-known programs: bringing a cart filled with sandwiches, drinks, and snacks to everyone in the infusion suite. So kind and generous.

Sentara support groups: Many of their support groups are meeting online, due to the pandemic. View the calendar here to see when the groups meet.

SMILE — Samantha Makes It a Little Easier: This Norfolk-based nonprofit organization provides goods and services to children whose lives have been impacted by a life-threatening condition, who could otherwise not be able to obtain these goods or services.

Pariser Dermatology: They’re a large practice, and in my personal experience they can normally get you in reasonably soon. In the past, they have held screening events during Skin Cancer Awareness Month. I feel that my dermatologist is very knowledgeable.

Lee’s friends: This local nonprofit provides emotional & practical support, via volunteers, for patients and families. Normally they have a program to provide rides for medical appointments (I am not sure if they can do so during covid — please contact their office for updates.)

Road to Recovery: Assistance for rides to medical appointments, from the American Cancer Society. (Please contact them for current status updates.)

Look Good Feel Better: Group classes to help women with makeup and skin care during cancer treatment. (They’re holding virtual workshops during the pandemic.) I attended one of their classes when I was finishing chemo, and thought it was encouraging.

Cleaning for a Reason: A national nonprofit that provides two free house cleanings for patients during their treatment. Learn more and apply at their website — we have several local companies that participate!

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare: Check their events calendar here to find support groups, classes, and community fundraisers.

Susan G. Komen Virginia: Helpful information about breast cancer, assistance programs for patients, and fundraisers such as Race For the Cure.

Hospice information: FAQs about hospice care, volunteer opportunities, and general information about Sentara’s program in our region.

Tai Chi classes: Bending Tree Tai Chi is offering virtual classes, and some in-person with social distancing.

Palouse Mindfulness: Here you can study mindfulness meditation online! Mindfulness can mitigate stress and improve your wellbeing.

Take Them a Meal: Easy-to-use website where you can set up a meal schedule for a friend or family member. Taking food (or ordering a delivery) is a thoughtful way to support them, and this site helps you coordinate among your friends!

Team in Training: Form your team, get help and coaching along the way, and raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. They will help you run a marathon, a half-marathon, or a 10k!

Nancy’s List: Nancy’s List is committed to improving the lives of the many people who are living with cancer and those who love and care for them. Financial resources, emotional support, and community for those who are going through treatment.

Colon Cancer Foundation: If you need help with the cost of getting a colonoscopy, the CCF has information on this page that could assist you. Please, please get checked.

Colorectal Cancer Alliance: Here is a ton of downloads and links to additional tools, potential financial resources, emotional support, and FAQs about colon cancer. Please check it out.

Kaiser Family Foundation: This website has many resources for health information, public health policy, and news updates. Check the link to learn more about breast cancer screening and prevention across the USA.

Spot Skin Cancer: The American Academy of Dermatology Association sponsors public awareness campaigns, free nationwide screening events, and other resources to help you learn how to protect your skin.

Black and Brown Skin: Malone Mukwende, a medical student in the United Kingdom, founded this project. His site offers invaluable photos and information about how medical conditions may present with people of color. Download Mind the Gap, the clinical handbook of signs & symptoms in black and brown skin.

Proton Therapy tours: The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute normally offers monthly info seminars and tours. These are on hold during covid, but you can view a virtual tour of their facility here.

AiM at Melanoma: Tons of resources about skin cancer. Informative webinars, links to articles and sources of support, community, and a new podcast.

Miiskin app: Available for your iPhone or Android; with this app, you can monitor your “spots” and moles for any changes. Many dermatologists have recommended it, and I use it too! Their website has many helpful articles indeed.

MSK Virtual Classes: Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the top oncology hospitals in the US, offers this integrative medicine at-home membership program with fitness and wellness classes via Zoom. Check out their schedule!

INOVA Schar Cancer Institute: Cancer center located in Fairfax; they have numerous online resources and classes. Check out these compassionate guided meditations.

Massage therapy and cancer

Society for Oncology Massage: How to find a massage therapist who works with people with cancer. Oncology education for LMTs and consumers.

What to ask your massage therapist: Suggestions to help you know what to expect from your Oncology Massage Therapist.

Why massage therapists ask all those questions: What’s a contraindication, and why your medical history is important so that you get the best and safest massage possible.

What is Oncology Massage?: How we adjust your massage to support you, when you have had a cancer diagnosis.

What a massage therapist can do: What falls under a Virginia licensed massage therapist’s scope of practice (and a list of what is not included).

Does massage therapy spread cancer?: Reassurance from the Australian Cancer Council.

Can cancer patients get massages?: Helpful overview from Verywell Health.

Massage Therapy Foundation: This nonprofit organization supports many research studies about the efficacy of massage therapy. Here is a 2016 meta-analysis about massage helping pain & anxiety from cancer.

Cancer care supplies

Just added: Stage offers clothing, skincare, accessories — but most of all, community — for those dealing with breast cancer. “No judgment. No fear mongering. Just support, understanding, and love.”
Here’s an article about their company’s founder, and her experience with metastatic breast cancer, that appeared in Forbes.

Stage BCa

Sungrubbies: Hats and accessories for men and women; larger sizes included. Featuring UPF50+ to protect you from the sun!

Sunguard: This is a powdered laundry additive which adds UPF sun protection to your clothing. Originally sold by the same company as RIT dye, I’ve only found it on Amazon in recent years. It hasn’t affected the color or texture of my clothes.

EWG sunscreen safety ratings: Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, publishes a guide to safer sun protection every year. Includes their recommendations for both kids and adults!

totes sun protection umbrella: Umbrellas with UPF50 protection included. (I seem to live in a wind tunnel, so your mileage may vary.)

Coolibar UPF sleeves and gloves: Various sizes and colors; protect your hands and arms from the sun while you’re working outside, playing sports, or driving!

Organic Food Depot: Locally owned source for supplements & nutrition products, personal care, and organic foods! You can check their stock online, and they can special order. They have stores near Mt.Trashmore in Va.Beach, and in Norfolk (Ghent).

The Neighborhood Harvest: They can deliver delicious farm-fresh greens and other produce, eggs, dairy, & more — directly to your home — with no contracts or minimum orders! So helpful if you are having challenges with getting to a store.

Local farms/markets: List of local farms and produce markets in Southeastern Virginia, including pick-your-own berries and seasonal events.

Silhouette mastectomy boutique: They offer prostheses, wigs, and accessories for women going through cancer treatment. Compassionate, private, professional fittings available at their locations in Newport News and Norfolk. They can work with insurance companies.

Jojoba Company: This is where I order jojoba to use for your massages! Their products are top-quality, first press, with no pesticides. Plus, their jojoba is gentle to delicate, sensitive skin and won’t cause breakouts or allergic reactions.

Cancer education

Cancer.org: The American Cancer Society — learn about many forms of cancer, current research findings, treatment options, and support groups.

Just Added! Here’s an excellent video, recorded 3/15/22, that updates us with the latest insights from a professor at Johns Hopkins. He discusses the pandemic and how it currently impacts the activities of people who are in cancer treatment.

Cancer.net: This is the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Compassionate information for people with cancer, their families, and caregivers.

What to ask your doctor: Here are some suggestions to help you get the information you need. (“Talking with Your Health Care Team,” originally published by the National Cancer Institute.)

The Skin Cancer Foundation: When I was first diagnosed, this site was one of the most helpful that I found. Learn more about the treatment and prevention of all forms of skin cancer. Their seal appears on many beneficial products, including safer sunscreens.

The Canadian Cancer Society: A broad, easy-to-understand overview of cancer — definitions, how does it start, what happens if it spreads.

Proton Therapy: Proton therapy, available in our region at HUPTI, is a targeted form of radiation that incurs minimal side effects. Learn more to see if it could be an option for you.

Mayo Clinic: Excellent source of information about cancer and other health conditions.

Duke Cancer Institute: Located in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina, they offer many cancer treatment resources and clinical trials.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Rated as one of the top oncology hospitals in the USA. They have numerous links to patient information and support.

National Institutes of Health: Links to articles about conditions, advice for talking to your doctor, and updates about research programs.

National Institute of Mental Health: Learn more about anxiety, depression, and the latest research about emotional disorders. Anxiety is one of the most frequent side effects of cancer treatments.

MD Anderson: Another top oncology hospital in the USA. They offer many sources of education, research, and advice about numerous cancer treatment options and screenings.

Clinical Trials: Search here to find info about medical trials that you may be eligible to join. Learn more about current studies, how they are conducted, and results of past studies.

Advice for when you have newly been diagnosed: This short article offers some kind suggestions for someone who has just received a cancer diagnosis.

Just Added! Symptom Tracker: Here is a downloadable tool that you can use to keep track of how you’re feeling from day to day, and record any symptoms that you want to ask your medical team about.

MBC Alliance: Numerous resources for women (and men) who are living with metastatic breast cancer. You can download their app, find clinical trials, help increase public awareness of MBC, and discover support services.

The 3 Types of Skin Cancer: Here’s an excellent overview to learn about the differences between basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Risk factors, prevention, and more! 1 out of 5 Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

Cure magazine: You can receive their print magazine, follow them on social media, or read their articles online. Patients sharing their relatable experiences, news of oncology treatment options, and more.

caringHands

Lymphatic system: Why do we suffer from enlarged lymph nodes with infections or cancer? What is lymphedema and what causes you to be at risk of developing that? Here is a helpful introduction to your body’s lymphatic functions.

What is your immune system?: Quick overview of what makes up our bodies’ immune system, how it protects against infection, and common immune responses.

Different types of cancer: Virginia Oncology Associates’ website has this list of descriptions of many prevalent types of cancer.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy: What happens when you have a sentinel (or SLN) biopsy? What is it used for? Here is some information from the Mayo Clinic about this diagnostic procedure.

Do you still need sunscreen in the winter?: The short answer: YES!!
Learn more about it in this article.

Seek the Shade: Learn how to save your skin! Will that hat, umbrella, or tree give you enough protection? Download the following PDF from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Why be concerned about UV radiation?: Learn the difference between UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. How to protect yourself and your family. Links to the current UV forecast.

Does sugar cause cancer?: This podcast episode from Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the top cancer treatment hospitals in the US, has some insights into this concerning question.

Essential oils and cancer: Although research does not support claims of curing or preventing cancer in humans, aromatherapy can be beneficial for nausea and other side effects of treatment. Read more in this article.

Just added! A wonderful explanation of using essential oils and aromatherapy for cancer support — without creating the expectations or claims of cancer prevention. Written by a clinical aromatherapist who has years of experience and insight.

Common myths about cancer: Have you heard some of these rumors about cancer? This article from Medical News Today has reassuring info, backed up by links to their sources.

What is metastasis?: Overview of what metastasis, or mets, means in oncology. How cancer may spread in your body, some ways that your doctor diagnoses metastases, and potential treatments.

Fred Hutch: Pioneering research news, clinical trials, and scientific studies in cancer and many other areas of public health. Based in Seattle. “Our Goal: Science That Cures.”

AiM at Melanoma videos: Offering many patient resources to educate and support people affected by skin cancer.

Community Oncology Alliance: This nonprofit is dedicated to advocating for community oncology patients and practices. Cancer survivors, family members, and oncology clinicians can join and become involved in healthcare advocacy.

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship: Join CPAT, their policy and advocacy team. Make your voice heard on issues that affect quality cancer care; share your survivor views; receive updates on legislation that affects oncology patients.

Health research literacy: Published study from the National Library of Medicine. Advocating for improved knowledge & understanding of, and ethical participation in, medical research studies.

How the Sun Sees You: This eye-opening YouTube video shows why wearing sun protection is so very important for you — your family — and me!

uv camera

ABCDE and Your Skin: Help to explain what to look for when you check your skin for any signs of cancer.

3D mammograms: Learn more about this new technology for breast cancer screening and early detection. Many insurance plans now cover it, too.

Virtual colonoscopy: If a patient is unable to have a regular colonoscopy, this procedure may be an option. Learn about the test, its advantages, and its disadvantages here.

Emotional support for people with cancer and their caregivers

How to find peer support: This site from OncoLink (University of Pennsylvania) offers a lengthy list of peer support volunteers, who can help you cope. Organized by the type of cancer.

JUST ADDED! Calendar of Virtual Classes & Groups: I love this variety of classes for your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Offered by Smith Center, a DC-based nonprofit.

Take Them a Meal: This free portal helps you to set up a meal schedule for a friend or family member. It’s easy to use, and you can share the schedule with anyone. You can post a note with any dietary restrictions or preferences. They even suggest recipes for foods that travel well!

What to say: Here are some honest suggestions about what to say — and what not to say — to someone who is dealing with cancer.

More ideas of what to say: Here’s another excellent take on what is helpful to say — and what is not helpful — when someone is going through cancer.

Grief: I like this compassionate NPR interview with Mary-Frances O’Connor, a clinical psychologist in Arizona who studies the ways that grieving affects our brains. The article also has insights about holidays, and pandemic-related grieving. She is publishing a new book that looks very interesting.

Survivor’s guilt: Many people struggle with guilt about their experience with cancer or other serious events. Here are some suggestions that may help.

Another article about guilt and cancer: The emotional toll can continue long after treatment. And we may experience complex feelings. Some ideas for coping.

New normal: Tips for adjusting to a “new normal” when you have finished your cancer treatment. How to have self-compassion in the days ahead.

Tiny buddha: This site posts inspiration, encouraging thoughts, gratitude blogs, compassion graphics, and “simple wisdom for complex lives.”

Random Acts of Kindness: This foundation spreads kindness via blog posts, fun shareable graphics, materials for teachers, and much more.

Cancer and nutrition: Here are some resources from the American Cancer Society with tips about caring for your body’s nutritional needs during treatment.

Grief Writing Sundays: Diane Zinna, an author and compassionate writing instructor, offers these weekly grief writing workshops over Zoom. If writing or journaling helps you to deal with grief, please contact her for information.

I hope that these cancer support resources are helpful for you. I’ve found encouragement, valuable information, and assistance from many of these articles and websites. If you have any feedback, please let me know! Thanks — Linda

%d bloggers like this: