Cancer survivors will soon have access to more coordinated resources for their cancer care or post-cancer needs. Providence Saint John’s Health Center has launched a new survivorship program, made possible by a major gift from cancer survivor Monica Salinas, PhD.
Dr. Salinas received her care from Marilou Terpenning, MD, an oncologist at Saint John’s and adjunct professor of medical oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. The program will assist survivors with emotional and psychosocial issues, financial and career challenges, side effects from treatment and the impact of cancer on family members.
“Cancer survivorship starts with the diagnosis of cancer, which can be terrifying,” says Dr. Terpenning, who helped found the survivorship program. “There’s a very intense period of fact-finding to become knowledgeable enough to feel confident in care. Patients are often overwhelmed with information—it’s like trying to drink from a fire hose. This gracious gift will help us strengthen the program, which will give patients the fortitude and resources to cope with this diagnosis.”
Dr. Salinas has a special understanding of the needs of cancer survivors. In addition to her own experience as a patient, she is a licensed marriage and family therapist and holds a PhD in clinical psychology. She is an expert on how culture affects behavior and access to care and says she appreciates the many psychosocial challenges that cancer imposes on individuals and their families.
“Until I became a cancer survivor I had no idea about the immense value that a survivorship program could provide,” she says. “Dr. Terpenning, was the first person to make me aware that cancer is a prolonged situation that creates an entanglement of issues for the entire family, not only psychologically, but often economically as well. I am honored to participate in a program that has so thoughtfully been designed to help patients navigate their journey towards recovery.”
The survivorship program is part of a long list of services for cancer patients and their families. Saint John’s offers many programs, including a surgical nurse navigator for breast cancer patients, prehabilitation, rehabilitation, genetic counseling and spiritual care. The survivorship navigator, a position that is made possible through Dr. Salinas’ gift, will help patients understand what programs are available for them and coordinate that care.
For more information on how to support the cancer survivorship program, please contact Jeanne Goldsmith at 310-582-7344.