Supportive Care for Healing initiative provides comprehensive, integrated support

Supportive Care for Healing initiative provides comprehensive, integrated support

The Arizona Cancer Center’s new “Supportive Care for Healing” is a comprehensive initiative that will provide one of the nation’s most integrative models of emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual and social support for cancer patients and their families from the moment they are diagnosed throughout their entire journey.

Supportive Care for Healing offers a wide array of services, including experienced social workers available to all new patients from day one; psychiatric services on site; a palliative care team; a survivorship program that provides a fully integrative approach for treatment and beyond; nutritional counseling; complementary treatments including massage, Reiki, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi and others; programs for assisting patients’ partners and loved ones; and many opportunities for patient education, including regular chemotherapy and radiation therapy classes. Many of these services were previously offered by Sunstone Cancer Support Center at the Peter and Paula Fasseas Clinic at UMC-North.

“These wonderful interlocking consultation and treatment services are part of a renewed effort to provide cancer patients and their families with personalized care and healing. They are an integral part of the multidisciplinary cancer care provided at the Arizona Cancer Center,” said Karen Weihs, MD, the AZCC’s medical director for supportive care.

Supportive Care for Healing is anchored by two if the most innovative cancer group programs in the country, The Seven Levels of Healing® and The Eye of the Hurricane Program®. The Seven Levels of Healing is a seven-week, two-hours-per-week comprehensive education and support program, designed to assist cancer patients and their loved ones to skillfully navigate the journey through cancer. It is facilitated by specially trained Arizona Cancer Center nurses and social workers and will be offered to patients and their loved ones at no cost beginning in late March.

The Seven Levels of Healing was created by Jeremy Geffen, MD, a board-certified medical oncologist and expert in integrative medicine and oncology, based on more than 10 years of experience in his own oncology practice. The content of the program is detailed in Dr. Geffen’s book, “The Journey Through Cancer: Healing and Transforming the Whole Person.”

The Eye of the Hurricane Program is an in-depth and advanced 10-week, three-hours-per-week program where patients have further extensive learning in an educational, experiential and transformative group process being exposed to an array of skills to build resilience. Participants in The Eye of the Hurricane consistently rate the program as exceeding their expectations. It was created by Mark Gilbert, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist and associate director of psychosocial oncology at the Arizona Cancer Center, with more than 30 years of clinical expertise in the field of mind-body medicine and group therapy interventions. Dr. Gilbert personally leads the Eye of the Hurricane groups.

Supportive Care for Healing rests on the longstanding foundation of support groups offered at the Arizona Cancer Center to all patients in the community. These support groups target specific cancer types, including breast, gynecologic, colorectal, prostate, melanoma, leukemia/lymphoma, and brain tumors, as well as pediatric cancers and patients undergoing blood and marrow transplantation.

The Living with Cancer support group is a general forum of support for all patients with all types of cancer, their family members and others who support them on the cancer journey. A monthly calendar provides the names and contact information for support group leaders, as well as meeting times and locations. It can be found at the Supportive Care for Healing section of the AZCC website:

For more information about Supportive Care for Healing and its programs, call Lynn Barwick, LICSW, at (520) 694-1855. To sign up for an introductory session for The Seven Levels of Healing, contact clinical educator Pamela Gebhardt, RN, MS, OCN, at (520) 694-0383. To register for the Eye of the Hurricane Groups, call Lily McMillion at 520-626-6586.

-Feb. 2, 2010