Resources for Cancer Patients and Survivors
These are some of the services, support groups, and resources available to cancer patients, survivors and their families at Lifespan and beyond.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Lifespan has several locations where outpatients can receive services for general physical and occupational therapy, lymphedema, speech and language problems, and pelvic floor disorders.
General Physical and Occupational Therapy
Provided by occupational therapists and physical therapists, rehabilitation services focus on addressing the common side effects of cancer, including pain, fatigue, balance problems, difficulty walking, gross and fine motor deficits, and challenges with activities of daily living. Once referred by their health care provider, patients will be evaluated to develop an individualized treatment plan.
Lifespan offers rehabilitation services for individuals who need treatment for lymphedema – swelling or an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin that may follow surgery or radiation to treat cancer. Several techniques are used to treat lymphedema. Patients also learn self-management skills.
Women’s and Men’s Health Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Center
Women’s and men’s health pelvic floor rehabilitation addresses problems with urination, defecation, sexual dysfunction, and pelvic pain that may occur after treatment for gynecologic, prostate, colon, rectal, and bladder cancer. Treatments offered include biofeedback assessment and training, electrical stimulation, bladder retraining, manual therapy and specialized exercise programs, and behavioral management strategies and training. A physician referral is required. Please call 401-793-2145 for more information.
Speech Pathology for Head and Neck Cancer
Therapy with speech language pathologists addresses dysphagia and motor speech disorders in order to improve speech articulation, swallowing, and verbal skills. Lifespan outpatient rehabilitation services meets these needs. A physician’s referral is required.
The Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute's cardio-oncology program treats patients and survivors who have cardiovascular complications of cancer or cancer therapy, or with co-existing heart disease and cancer conditions. Please call 401-444-5803 (Rhode Island Hospital) or 401-793-7870 (The Miriam Hospital) for more information.
The Cancer Genetics Program is only for family members of current or past patients who received care through the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Patients will meet with Lauren Massingham, MD; Chanika Phornphutkul, MD; or a genetic counselor. Please call 401-444-8361 for more information.
Women’s Genetic Counseling at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative offers comprehensive evaluation for patients and their family members who are at risk of hereditary cancer syndromes. This genetics program does not require that family members be related to current or past patients of Lifespan Cancer Institute. It is led by Chanika Phornphutkul, MD, and a team of genetic specialists. Please call 401-793-7410 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
The Ostomy Center
The Ostomy Center at The Miriam Hospital assists and guides patients who have undergone ostomy procedures, often due to colon or bladder cancers. The center staff promotes and encourages independence through counseling and education, whether your ostomy is temporary or permanent. A physician’s referral is required. Please call 401-793-2930 for more information.
The Psychiatric Oncology and behavioral health team at the Lifespan Cancer Institute offers services to help manage the emotional and behavioral challenges that may arise at any stage of a cancer journey. The psychiatric oncology team includes psychiatrists, social workers, oncologists and nurses. They are available to discuss options of interventions, including medications and psychotherapy (counseling or “talk therapy”), support groups and peer-to-peer support. For more information, call 1-844-222-2881.
Integrative Health and Wellness Programs
Acupuncture has helped patients with symptoms such as headaches, back pain, neck pain, nausea, anxiety and other side effects of medication. It is offered through the Lifespan Lifestyle Medicine Center at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative. Appointments with Mariah Stump, MD, MPH, can be scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays. Please call 401-793-7817 for more information.
Brown Athletics Program
The Brown Athletics program gives cancer survivors being treated by Lifespan a three-month gym membership and 12 visits with a personal trainer. This program is designed to help survivors regain their strength and stamina and develop an individualized exercise program after cancer treatment. Availability and number of visits with the personal trainer are subject to change. To learn more, please contact Camille Higel-McGovern at 844-222-2881.
Have questions about nutrition? Mary Flynn, PhD, RD, LDN, has answers. Flynn, a dietitian at The Miriam Hospital since 1984, is the co-author of The Pink Ribbon Diet and Low Fat Lies. If you would like information about her small group cooking classes, or would like a referral to talk to her about your nutritional needs, please call 1-844-222-2881. A referral from your oncologist is necessary.
Sexual Health and Reproduction Programs
Fertility Center at Women & Infants
The Fertility Center at Women & Infants offers options for current cancer patients, both men and women, diagnosed with cancers that might affect fertility. Cancer survivors who have become infertile due to cancer treatments and did not preserve eggs, sperm or embryos in advance still have options for having families, including using donor eggs, embryos or sperm to conceive; surrogacy; and adoption. Please call 401-441-5336 for more information.
Male Fertility at Brown Urology
Working with Brown Urology, the Lifespan Cancer Institute offers counseling and options regarding fertility for men diagnosed with cancer or those planning to start a treatment that may harm their fertility. Additionally, male cancer survivors who are interested in family planning may seek help.
With a focus on male infertility and sexual dysfunction, the Lifespan Cancer Institute and Brown Urology are dedicated to maintaining a patient’s fertility potential. Mark Sigman, MD, specializes in fertility preservation for male cancer patients. Please call 401-421-0710 for more information.
Men’s Sexual Health
The Men’s Health Center at The Miriam Hospital provides specialized care for men who have issues with sexual performance related to prostate or testicular cancer. Physicians seeing patients at the Men’s Health Center include Martin Miner, MD; Mark Sigman, MD; and Vincent Harisaran, MD. For more information call 401-793-4636 (401-793-4MEN).
Sexual Health First Responders Clinic
The Sexual Health First Responders Clinic, headed by Don Dizon, MD, addresses sexual intimacy issues experienced by both men and women who have been treated for cancer. These issues can affect their relationship with their partner and their general quality of life. The initial appointment involves a comprehensive intake and physical exam. It provides patients and their partners a safe space to discuss sexual health concerns. Please call 1-844-222-2881 to schedule an appointment.
Pelvic Floor Disorders
The Program for Pelvic Floor Disorders at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative provides women with treatment options and symptom relief for problems with urination, defecation, sexual dysfunction, and pelvic pain that may occur after treatment for gynecologic, colon, rectal, and bladder cancer. Please call 401-793-7080 for more information.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Patient and Family Support Group
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Patient and Family Support Group meets on first Wednesdays at Elmhurst Extended Care Facility, 50 Maude Street, Providence, RI. The meetings in the ground-level conference room are an opportunity for patients and family members living with blood cancers to connect with one another and extend support. The focus is on survivorship as well as new diagnoses. Contact Gayle Bagley at 508-810-1304 for more information.
The LIVESTRONG Cancer Survivorship Program
The YMCA offers a 12-week physical activity program designed specifically for survivors. Survivors participate in free or low-cost exercise regimens customized to their individual needs by certified fitness instructors. The instructors are trained in cancer survivorship, post-rehabilitation exercise and supportive cancer care. The program is located at Bayside YMCA, 70 West Street, Barrington, RI. Please call 401-245-2444 for more information.
Men’s Cancer Wellness Group
The Men’s Cancer Wellness Group is a forum for men who have been diagnosed with prostate, bladder, testicular, penile, or renal cancer. The group, facilitated by Kathy Higginbotham, LICSW, aims to provide support for participants during treatment and recovery. The group meets in the third-floor conference room of the Fain Building at The Miriam Hospital, 164 Summit Avenue, Providence, RI. Please call Kathy Higginbotham at 401-793-2078 for more information, enrollment and group updates.
Women’s Cancer Wellness Group
Women’s Cancer Wellness Group is a support group for women diagnosed with any type of cancer who are interested in meeting with peers for discussion, education and support throughout the treatment and recovery process. The group meets from 4 to 5 p.m., on the third Thursdays of each month, in the second-floor conference room at 1454 South County Trail, East Greenwich, RI. Please contact Susan Garland, LICSW, at 401-444-2584 or Elaine McDonald, LICSW, at 401-444-0058 to confirm the time and place.
Young Fight Strong
The Young Fight Strong Program is for women 45 years old and younger who are living with, or have survived, breast and/or gynecological cancer. The program provides workshops, lectures, research opportunities, and group discussions on issues relevant to young patients who have breast or gynecological cancers. Discussion topics include sexuality, exercise, decreasing risk of cancer, and stress reduction. For information, please call 1-844-222-2881 and ask to speak with someone regarding the Young Fight Strong Program.
The Kids' Group
The Kids’ Group is a group that meets quarterly at The Miriam Hospital, Fain Building, third floor. Specific dates and time are posted in the waiting areas of Lifespan Cancer Institute locations. The group is designed to orient children age 5 to 17 who have loved ones being treated at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Activities and food are provided.
Look Good, Feel Better
Join the American Cancer Society (ACS) to learn how to look good and feel better about the skin and hair change that cancer treatment can cause. Attend free workshops led by trained, volunteer cosmetologists. Get help with cosmetics, skin care, and head covering options.
To register, please call the ACS at 1-800-227-2345.
Meeting Locations, Days and Times
(Please call 1-800-227-2345 to verify meeting day before attending):
- Miriam Hospital: Mondays, 1-3 p.m.
- Newport Hospital: Mondays, 2-4 p.m.
- Rhode Island Hospital, Mondays, 1-3 p.m.
Peer to Peer Support Group
The Peer to Peer Support Group is a unique program that pairs patients and caregivers with trained volunteers to make their cancer journey easier. The volunteer guides are also patients or caregivers who are one year out of active cancer treatment or who live with stable advanced cancer.
Benefits of the program include a decrease in anxiety and isolation, an increase in coping strategies and sense of hope, a buffer in the impact of stress on health and coping, and a chance to see others successfully manage their own problems.
Contact Susan Garland, MSW, LICSW, clinical social worker, at 401-606-2044 to get involved.
Financial and Community Resources
Federal/State Financial Assistance
Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI)/Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) is available through the state of Rhode Island. A patient or caregiver must work in Rhode Island to qualify for this benefit, which is financed through employee payroll deductions. TDI provides benefit payments to insured Rhode Island workers for unemployment caused by a temporary disability or injury. The maximum amount of time individuals can collect TDI benefits is 30 weeks. Caregivers receive up to four weeks of benefits to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law or grandparent.
The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs (SSDI/SSI),administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), provide assistance to people with disabilities, who also meet specified medical criteria. Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits if the recipient has worked long enough and has paid Social Security taxes. Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need. Both programs require patients to have a disability that is expected to last one year. Patients can apply in person at their local Social Security Administration office, by calling 1-800-772-1213, or online at www.socialsecurity.gov.
The Rhode Island Insurance Resource, Education, and Assistance Consumer Helpline (RIREACH) is a service of the Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN). RIREACH helps Rhode Islanders with insurance denial claims, medical bills and other related issues. Patients may call 401-270-0101 or email [email protected] for more information.
Rhode Island Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is part of a national partnership to help consumers make informed health care choices. SHIP volunteers provide one-to-one counseling to seniors, adults with disabilities, families, and caregivers. The program is designed to help seniors and adults with disabilities understand health care costs and coverage. SHIP counselors can discuss all health insurance options. For more information, contact 401-462-0510 or 401-462-0740 or visit http://oha.ri.gov/what-we-do/access/health-insurance-coaching/ship/.
The RIPIN Healthcare Advocate assists people covered by both Medicare and Medicaid with insurance denials and appeals, medical benefits and billing. The RIPIN Healthcare Advocate can be reached toll-free at 1-855-747-3224.
Community Action Programs (CAPS) include consumer education, counseling, health and wellness, home weatherization, and heating assistance. Lifespan social workers can inform patients of the agency that covers their area.
Social Service Emergency Line 211 is a hotline run round-the-clock by United Way. Patients can call 2-1-1 within the United States for information and support on health and human services needs. An alternative, toll-free number is 1-800-367-2700.
Utility shutoff protection is available for qualified patients. Forms can be requested from utility providers or a Lifespan Cancer Institute social worker. The George Wiley Center, an anti-poverty community organization, also assists. Call the center at 401-728-5555.
The American Cancer Society Road to Recovery provides transportation for patients traveling to an appointment for cancer treatment or to an appointment for complementary therapy during cancer treatment. Transportation cannot be provided for follow-up appointments after treatment has been completed. The patient must be able to walk unassisted to and from the vehicle or have an accompanying caregiver to assist. Call 1-800-227-2345 for detailed eligibility requirements.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation is provided to Rhode Island patients by MTM. Patients must be Medicaid recipients and/or age 60 and older who qualify for the Elderly Transportation Program. Contact 1-855-330-9131 for appointments and further assistance.
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