Cancer survivorship programs at Inova – Life with Cancer and the new Survivorship Clinic

Lauren Broschak, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, is an oncology-certified Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Life with Cancer. She serves as the Survivorship Program Manager at Inova Schar Cancer Life with Cancer. Her areas of interest include adolescent and young adults impacted by cancer, illness’ effect on sexuality, intimacy and fertility, couples and cancer, dating and cancer, and caregiver support.

Tracy Webb, DMSc, MS, PA-C, is a board-certified physician assistant at Inova Schar Cancer. She serves as the Survivorship APP on the survivorship care team at Inova.

Holistic. Supportive. Engaging. These words describe the survivorship program available at Inova for cancer survivors. The program incorporates Inova’s Life with Cancer and the recently launched Survivorship Clinic.

Overall Objectives of the Survivorship Program

Providers work closely together to offer patients the kind of holistic support that improves their quality of life. Cancer survivors can complete a survivorship needs assessment and meet with an advanced practice provider to discuss strategies of recovering from that issue. Patients can find ongoing support through acupuncture, short term behavioral health counseling, nutrition counseling, having an exercise program developed for them, free in person and virtual exercise and mind-body classes, support groups and more. This is all designed with recovery in mind.

How the Survivorship Program Meets the Specific Needs of Individuals

In individual consultations with the APP from Inova Schar in survivorship and with Life with Cancer clinicians, our providers tailor care that’s unique to you. We make sure we see and hear the person in front of us and allow them to share their stories so we can gain an understanding of what they need.

“I was hesitant at first but decided to participate in the Life with Cancer (LWC) program because I realized I had been an emotional and stressful wreck since the beginning of diagnosis, after surgery and beginning of treatment, Something I didn’t account for and thought after surgery that it was all “past me” and that I could return to my “normal life.” Meeting with Tracy Webb proved to be absolutely vital in helping me manage the phase I was at and thoughts and unexpected emotions I was having. Having someone to actually talk with and listen that actually understands lifted a tremendous weight off my shoulders. In my family, I’ve always been the caretaker and the “strong one.” Participating in LWC I learned that it’s OK to not be OK regardless of cancer stage and prognosis. It allowed me to come to terms with that, to feel and let go, and grow from this. And most importantly, that I am not alone. I also very much appreciated the sincere care and additional resources communicated to me as well. I’m so grateful and thankful for the LWC program. Thank you!” ~ Carolina

Supporting Caregivers and Families

We understand that caregivers and family members need support, too. Caregivers looking for support will find that Life with Cancer offers supportive programs  including:

  • Caregiver support group
  • Education services
  • Disease-focused support groups
  • Individual support

What Sets Inova’s Program Apart from Others?

Life with Cancer provides more than 200 programs and most of them – both in clinic and outpatient – are free. Healthcare professionals from Life with Cancer have completed trainings across the United States.

A Team Overview

A variety of healthcare professionals come together to collaborate and provide care. These include:

  • Medical providers, including a Survivorship-focused Advanced Practice Provider
  • Nurse Navigators
  • Behavioral Health Therapists
  • Registered Dieticians
  • Acupuncturists
  • Massage therapists
  • Psychiatrist
  • Fitness specialist

Who Can Participate in Inova’s Life with Cancer Program?

Inova’s Life with Cancer program is available to those who’ve been touched by cancer including patients and caregivers treated at Inova and throughout the greater DMV area:

Support is available for:

  • Patients and survivors
  • Caregivers and loved ones
  • Those who have lost a loved one to cancer
  • For children and teens who’ve been diagnosed or have a loved one diagnosed

Joining the Program

Individuals wishing to join the program can simply  visit our website at Life with Cancer where you’ll be able to register for group-based activities and put in a request for more information or a consultation with our clinicians.

Essential Program Services

Life with Cancer provides participants with a choice of individual and group-based services including:

  • Psychosocial care through therapy and support groups
  • nurse navigation
  • Mind-body meditation classes
  • Fitness classes
  • Dietitian consults and classes
  • Acupuncture and massage
  • Psychiatry
  • General education

Survivorship Clinic at Inova

Inova’s Survivorship Clinicopened in May to focus on helping cancer survivors in these specific areas:

  • Breast cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Testicular cancer

The objective is to take care of the whole person, not just their cancer. Patients will receive comprehensive care designed to aid in recovery and healing after heavy-duty treatment. It does not replace a patient’s primary oncology team but rather is an extra layer of support focused on helping them deal with post-treatment related issues such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Fear of recurrence
  • Emotional distress and any psychological impacts

Survivorship Clinic Pilot Program

Inova’s Survivorship ClinicPilot program has been up and running since May. At this time, it is only open to Inova patients who are referred. Patients who’ve completed surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy and are just starting on maintenance therapy should be referred by their primary oncology provider, radiation oncologist or medical oncologist or one of their oncology Advanced Practice Providers

The Program Addresses Patients’ Physical, Emotional and Psychological Needs

Patients are offered a wide array of information and activities:

  • Education on signs and symptoms of recurrence
  • How to potentially prevent recurrence
  • Addressing post-treatment physical side effects
  • Addressing cancer’s psychological impact including fear of recurrence
  • Lifestyle modifications to promote health and recover from treatment which may include nutrition, exercise and stress management
  • Nurse navigation
  • Sexual health care
  • Helping to coordinate care post-treatment by sharing notes with patients’ oncologist and primary care provider

Customizing the Program for Individual Needs

Before each patient visit, we send out a survey-focused questionnaire so patients can share their experience. We also ask them which top three issues they wish to discuss in detail, so their visits are very personalized.

Innovative Program Elements

Inova’s Survivorship Clinic features innovative program characteristics including:

  • A close partnership with the Life with Cancer Program
  • Multiple in-house services such as acupuncture
  • No extra cost for many services

A Fully Holistic Approach – Summary

In the Survivorship Program, we explore different holistic ways to address the full gamut of participants’ physical, emotional and psychological needs, including:

  • Comprehensive visit with the Survivorship APP
  • Individual support with Behavioral Health Therapists, Nurse Navigators, and Registered Dieticians
  • Acupuncture and massage
  • Fitness provider individual consultations
  • Fitness programs from tai chi and chair yoga to Zumba and cardio boosting to walking events including Nordic walking groups where folks walk together
  • Therapists and nurse navigators who specialize in sexual health after diagnosis
  • Sexual health support groups and classes
  • Mindfulness and meditation programs

Inova’s survivorship care team helps people diagnosed with cancer transition from treatment to recovery. Learn how we can support your health through every phase of your cancer journey or call us at 571-472-2040.

Leave a Comment