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UCH looks to broaden support for cancer patients

New supportive care program looks to treat the whole patient

In the fall of 2013, Joan Hart was part of a seven-person team from the University of Colorado Cancer Center and University of Colorado Hospital who visited Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for an oncology-focused seminar. The focus wasn’t on finding a cure or a new treatment for the disease but rather on building psychosocial programs to support patients diagnosed with cancer as well as their families.
Hart, a social worker with the Cancer Center, said the three-day workshop, developed by City of Hope, reflected a change, still evolving, in the way health care providers and society at large view cancer. Not so long ago, the disease was viewed as a death sentence. For decades, resources poured into finding new ways to defeat it. Today, that battle goes on, but medical advances have helped to make cancer a chronic disease for many. That means many patients face the unexpected challenge of coping with changes imposed by surviving cancer.