Resources for Cancer Survivors

These are some of the services, support groups, and resources available to cancer 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.

Lymphedema Treatment

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.

Specialized Programs

Cardio-Oncology

Under the direction of Raymond Russell, MD, PhD, 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.

Genetic Testing

Lifespan provides counseling and testing for people at risk for cancer through the Cancer Genetics Program and the Women’s Genetic Counseling Program.

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.

Psychiatric Oncology

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

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.

Massage Therapy

Benefits of massage therapy include relief of tension and stress, increased circulation, decreased pain and stiffness, and boosted energy and alertness. Massage therapy is offered through the Lifespan Lifestyle Medicine Center at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative. Appointments with licensed massage therapist, Cheryl McGuinness, LMT, are available Monday afternoons. The cost is $40 for a 30-minute session or $70 for an hour. Please call 401-793-7817 to make an appointment.

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.

Nutritional Services

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.

Women’s Programs

Breast Reconstruction

Lifespan offers multiple options for women who wish to undergo breast reconstruction after cancer surgery. Daniel Kwan, MD, Paul Liu, MD, and Rachel Sullivan, MD, specialize in breast reconstruction. Please call 401-444-5495 for more information.

OWLS – Oncology, Wellness Lifestyle and Survivorship Clinic

Survivorship begins at diagnosis, extends through treatment and even when you have advanced disease. The OWLS clinic is focused on helping you to live your life to fullest after a cancer diagnosis at any time in your treatment path.

What is OWLS?
A Consultative survivorship clinic for Breast and Gynecologic cancers at any stage of their treatment trajectory

What can OWLS do for me?

  • Help you focus on quality of life and wellness
  • Address the unique health issues you may experience as a result of treatment
  • Present your unique situation to a multidisciplinary groups of health care providers to create a unique survivorship plan tailored to your concerns and previous treatment

What will happen at my OWLS visit?

An internist and/or Nurse Practitioner experienced in survivorship care will review your intake form, assess your concerns, and discuss your care with members of the MD team. We will create a wellness roadmap for you and make recommendations (and coordinate with your PCP and oncologist) for you to live your best life after a cancer diagnosis.

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.

Support Groups

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. Mary Lopresti, DO, developed and heads this program, which 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.

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.

Health Insurance

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 callcenter@ripin.org for more information.

Health Source RI assists those 18 to 64 years old with obtaining health insurance. Call Health Source RI at 1-855-840-4774 or visit healthsourceri.com.

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

The POINT provides resources for long-term care options and support for seniors, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers. Contact The POINT at 401-462-4444

Community Resources

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 Housing Network of Rhode Island provides homebuyer education programs, foreclosure prevention, and loan scam alert information. Patients can call for further assistance at 401-721-5680.

Transportation Resources

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.