Support & Survivorship
At Altru Cancer Center, our foremost concern is treating the person, not just the illness. In this section, you will find detailed information about all of our support services.
Altru Cancer Center Patient Navigators are available to assist patients and families find their way through the treatment process.
If you have any questions about our support services, please call us at 701.780.5400.
Cancer survivorship is recognized as a distinct aspect of the cancer care continuum. The number of cancer survivors has been steadily increasing over the past four decades due to earlier detection, more accurate diagnoses, more effective treatments, and improved clinical follow-ups. The American Cancer Society estimates that 13.7 million cancer survivors are currently living in the United States and that number continues to grow. It is estimated that nearly 18 million survivors will be living in the United States by 2022. For this reason and due to the unique needs of this population with transitioning to a “new normal” after diagnosis and treatment, The Commission on Cancer (CoC) standards released new guidelines that mandate patients being treated with curative intent be provided with a comprehensive care summary and follow-up plan that is clearly and effectively explained.
Who is a cancer survivor?
An individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis.
Survivorship Care Plan
Survivorship care plans are prepared by an Advanced Practice Provider. It promotes patient understanding of their diagnosis, treatment, survivorship care, and health promotion. Survivorship care plans are individualized and include information such as:
- Summary of the patient’s diagnosis including stage, grade, hormone status and biomarker results
- Summary of the patient’s treatment course (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone, gene therapy, etc.) and any complications that were experienced
A brief outline of evidenced based follow up care may consist of the following:
- Possible short term and long term side effects from the cancer treatment
- Information on recommended follow up visits and tests
- Signs and symptoms of cancer recurrence or secondary malignancy
- Promotion of physical and mental wellness
- Cancer related resources online and in the community
Patients will meet with an Advanced Practice Provider at the end of their treatment course. The survivorship care plan will be discussed in detail and a copy will be sent home with the patient. A copy will also be sent to the patient’s primary care provider.
Cancer can complicate people's lives in many ways, and is not limited to its physical impact. At Altru, we recognize the importance of treating patients as individuals with specific social needs.
The American Cancer Society's Quality of Life Resource Center is a product of Altru's longstanding relationship with the American Cancer Society.
At the Quality of Life Resource Center:
- The Reach to Recovery program is staffed by volunteer breast cancer survivors who meet with and provide support to current patients and their loved ones
- The Road to Recovery program provides transportation for cancer patients both to treatments and back home
- The Look Good, Feel Better program is led by volunteer beauty professionals who offer cosmetic tips to women undergoing cancer treatment
- New and gently used wigs and turbans are available free of charge for women experiencing hair loss
The staff in our Social Services Department assesses each patient and family's holistic needs, and is available to all patients and family members free of charge.
Social Services provides the following comprehensive services:
- Referral to community agencies; including lodging, special education and support groups
- Referral to financial programs; including Medicaid, Social Security Administration, medication assistance and Veterans Affairs
- Support services; including counseling and education
- Discharge planning services; including nursing homes, follow-up services, in-home health care and home-delivered meals
For more information about any of our support services, please call us at 701.780.5400.
Recommended Reading Available for check out at the Cancer Center Library
- The Survivorship Net by Jim Owens
- Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book by Susan Love
- Uplift by Barbara Delinsky
- Living Well Beyond Breast Cancer by Marisa Weiss and Ellen Weiss
- Cancervive: The Challenge of Life after Cancer by Nessim and Ellis
- It’s not about the Bike: My journey back to life by Lance Armstrong
Palliative and Home Care
Palliative care is provided in addition to a patient's curative treatments. While the curative treatments focus on eliminating the cancer, the goal of palliative care is to provide relief from the emotional and physical toll of cancer.
- Provides management of pain and other physical symptoms and side effects
- Means helping you understand your options and make decisions about quality of life
- Manages lifestyle goals around new physical limits
- Promotes well-being and peace of mind
- Helps the patient and their loved ones deal with issues if and when they arise
- Encourages reflection, repairing of relationships and creating new memories
For more information regarding palliative care, please call us at 701.780.5442.
If cancer has progressed to the point where it is considered terminal, many patients find that getting care within their own home offers needed comfort. This service is also offered to those patients who are cleared to return home but cannot care for themselves just yet. Our interdisciplinary team is specifically trained to help patients live independently in their own homes.
Yorhom Medical Essentials offers the following services:
- Home health
- Grief center
- Rehabilitation technology
- Respiratory care
- Infusion therapy
- Medical equipment and supplies
For more information about Yorhom Medical Essentials, please call 701.780.2500.