Cancer is an emotional journey for everyone involved

In addition to the expert medical care available from of our team of cancer physicians, we offer a host of integrative and wellness services that aim to address the physical, emotional, social, mental, and spiritual needs of patients and their loved ones throughout the cancer journey.

Depending on your needs and personal goals for thriving, healing, and wellness, we can develop a personalized strategy to help you and your loved ones during your cancer journey.

Together, we are your partners in care and use a multi-disciplinary approach to meet your individual needs based on your condition, requirements, and situation.

Cancer Support Services Team at Saint John’s Cancer Institute Saint John's Health Center

Care for Life

At Providence Saint John’s Health Center, we believe that no one should have to go through a cancer journey alone. That is why Providence Saint John’s has a comprehensive Cancer Supportive Services program to help you and your loved ones. We care about your overall wellness and have assembled a core team of individuals to provide compassionate care to address the impact cancer can have on the whole person.

cancer support - environmentThese resources include:

  • Psycho-Oncology
  • Survivorship
  • Oncology Social Work
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Rehabilitation Services
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Spiritual Care
  • Palliative Care/Pain Management
  • Jean L. Gilbert Cancer Special Needs Program
  • The Milton & Ruth Berman and Family Cancer Mentorship Program, ‘Peer Mentoring’

If you would like to learn more or have questions about our Cancer Supportive Services, please call 310-829-8648 or visit

Survivorship Care

cancer support - wellness and nutritionSurvivorship begins from the moment of diagnosis and beyond and includes support for family and loved ones. The survivorship nurse practitioner can help during and after treatment to navigate and coordinate care. Survivorship wellness incorporates collaborative care to optimize emotional and mental health, transitional support during times of acute illness or changes in treatment and at any point throughout the cancer journey. Our Survivorship Programming includes financial toxicity assistance, peer-to-peer mentorship, support groups and educational webinars and talks.

The Cancer Survivorship program combines evidence-based medicine with integrative and wellness services for patients and caregivers affected by any type of cancer. Our team includes a full spectrum of clinicians and wellness providers to help meet a multitude of needs.

Psycho-Oncology Program

Psycho-Oncology addresses the emotional response to cancer and the effects of treatment that can impact mental health. Psycho-Oncology specializes in the management of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and cognitive impairments (chemo brain/fog). Using a multidisciplinary approach, the psychiatrist, social workers, and nurse practitioner are specially trained to support those dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

Specialized Psychiatric Services

Specialized psychiatric services tailored to cancer patients are available for those experiencing issues such as:

  • Coping with the diagnosis
  • Experiencing side effects of treatment
  • Adjusting to changes in functioning during and after treatment
  • Cognitive issues such as “Chemo Brain”
  • Psychiatric illness such as depression or anxiety, in the context of cancer treatment
  • Physical difficulties such as pain or insomnia
  • Difficulties returning to work or life after cancer

Learn About our Additional Psycho-Oncology Program at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute.

Oncology Social Work

Social workers are specially trained to assess the impact of cancer on a person’s life. They provide supportive counseling to people with cancer and their families. They can help navigate issues relating to insurance, disability, employment, and financial matters. They can also refer to resources such as transportation, lodging or other areas of need. A social worker is part of your health care team, and available to you and your family to reduce distress symptoms.

Distress symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Emotional states including sadness, fear, helplessness and anger
  • Poor sleep, appetite, or concentration
  • Depression, anxiety, or pain
  • Feeling out of control
  • Pulling away from people
  • Concerns about illness, the health of others and your role
  • Questioning faith purpose, or meaning of life
  • Frequent thoughts of illness or death

The Saint John’s Cancer Institute acknowledges that distress is often experienced by cancer patients and their loved ones. Helping you to identify and manage distress is our goal. This is why we will perform a well-being check periodically throughout your cancer journey and provide you with the resources, support, and guidance you need.

Nutritional Counseling

cancer support - family post careProper nutrition helps patients to better tolerate treatment-related side effects, promote post-treatment recovery, lower infection risks, prevent deficiencies, support healthy weight, assist with bone and gut health and provide more energy. Registered dietitians are licensed oncology-trained nutrition experts who can provide guidance for specific conditions, therapies and treatment-related side effects.

See Nutrition and Cancer.

Genetic Counseling

What role does genetics play in my diagnosis? The Providence Center for Clinical Genetics and Genomics can help you to understand how genetics influences you and your family’s health. Genetic counseling offers risk assessments, counseling, testing and high-risk management for you and your family.

See Who May Benefit from Genetic Counseling.


Physical and occupational therapists help you return to everyday activities. Recovery and healing therapy is customized to overcome fatigue, increase strength and cardiovascular endurance, decrease mobility pain, work on changes in balance and gait and restore physical wellbeing.

Cancer treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, can result in a variety of side effects that can benefit from specialized, focus pre- and re-habilitation therapy including:

  • Decreased strength and fatigue
  • Decreased mobility and related pain
  • Changes in balance and gait
  • Decreased cardiovascular endurance

See Oncology Prehab and Rehabilitation for Patients.

Spiritual Care

Many people associate spirituality with a particular religion or faith. Spirituality speaks to the meaning people find in their lives, especially during times of illness or stress. Spiritual distress can trigger deeper life-meaning issues, which can be a source of suffering. Spiritual distress requires attention just like any other symptom or side effect. Chaplains are experts in spiritual care and provide holistic, confidential spiritual support to address whole-person wellbeing.

People seek spiritual support when confronting difficult life situations:

  • Medical diagnosis: If you are dealing with a new or life-changing diagnosis or chronic illness, or if you are anxious about an upcoming surgery or medical treatment
  • Ethical and end-of-life concerns: If you face ethical decisions related to medical treatment for yourself or a loved one, if you want to know how your beliefs affect your medical care or if you need help with an advance directive.
  • Grief: If you are experiencing grief over the death of a loved one or the loss of health, a job or other significant facet of life.

See When should I call a chaplain?

Palliative Care

Palliative care is a specialized multi-disciplinary team that provides care for people living with a chronic illness, such as cancer. The focus is to improve quality of life by providing management of symptoms of cancer and pain — they offer an extra layer of support. Palliative care is based on the needs of the patient, not on the prognosis, therefore it is appropriate at any age and any stage of illness.

Palliative support services focus on improving the quality of life and comfort for our patients, including support with pain and complex symptom management, understanding of disease and treatment goals, and coordination of home health services.

Next Steps for Cancer Support

Please contact Cancer Support Services for any of our programs. We are ready to support you.

Through Gifts of Caring

It is through generous support and giving that we can continue this important life-changing work of Cancer Supportive Services. Saint John’s Health Center Foundation works with caring benefactors like former patient Jean L. Gilbert. Jean so appreciated the support she received during treatment that she made an endowment to ease the financial burden, often brought on by cancer.

Sometimes knowing that someone cares can make all the difference.

If you would like to support cancer supportive services and programs, please call Jeanne Goldsmith at 310-582-7344.

Cancer Supportive Services

Providence Saint John’s Health Center
Cancer Supportive Services

2121 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 9040
Program Main Line: 310-829-8648
Breast Health Clinic:
(310) 582-7100, option 2