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News : Health Aug 5, 2011 - 2:29 PM

Norwalk Hospital offers support for cancer patients

By Norwalk Hospital

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The Whittingham Cancer Center of Norwalk Hospital is making it a priority to make dealing with cancer less stressful. Their newly named program, PATHHways (Promoting Access to Health and Hope), offers numerous services and programs to assist individuals with cancer and to give their families access to any services they may need during this time. “Our healthcare team is committed to working with people and their loved ones to create an individualized plan of care during and after a cancer diagnosis,” according to Linda Versea, APRN, MSN, administrative manager of the Whittingham Cancer Center.

Cancer Exercise Program is a partnership with the local YMCAs to offer a 12 week, free and personalized exercise program for people with cancer treated at the Whittingham Cancer Center. This program can be utilized during or after treatment.
Nutrition Counseling is available by appointment. Registered dieticians help people with eating, digestive, weight or taste issues.

The Kids Group for children ages five through twelve focuses on the entire family dynamic while living with cancer. This program is for parents and their children. It is co-facilitated by Cancer Care.

Lung Health Navigation Program links people with a suspicious finding on a chest x-ray or other diagnostic test to a nurse who can answer questions and help make referrals to our hospital affiliated physician specialists.

Music and Meditation meets on the first and third Thursday at 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. in the Hospital Chapel in the Main Lobby. Individuals may join this group which will explore scripture and music as a way to relax and meditate to promote healing. Pre-registration is required.

Genetic Counseling is provided by experienced and certified genetic counselors. The Program is for individuals who have a personal or family history of cancer.
PATHHways Survivorship Speaker Series is offered monthly to educate the community about pertinent issues related to cancer. Past topics have included information about genetic counseling, nutrition, yoga and understanding pathology reports and blood tests. Pre-registration is required.

The Living with Lymphoma Series is led by one of our oncologists and helps individuals and families understand cancer and the treatments for all types of blood cancers. Pre-registration is preferred. This program is supported by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Cancer Clinical Trials Program is one of the most robust programs in the area offering national clinical treatment trials. This important program offers the most recent, promising cancer treatments that cannot be obtained otherwise.

Look Good, Feel Better meets every other month from 2 – 4 pm in the Whittingham Cancer Center conference room. This is a free, non-medical product-neutral program that teaches beauty techniques to women diagnosed with cancer, who are in active treatment to help them look and feel better. Pre-registration is required. This program is supported by the American Cancer Society.

Survivorship Care Plans is a care plan created by a person’s medical oncologist and an advance practice nurse. This care plan gives people an outline of what to do for health maintenance and cancer surveillance after treatment for cancer.
Image Enhancement Program provides access to hair prosthetics or specialized bras that may be needed after surgery or treatment for cancer.

Music Therapy meets every other Tuesday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Cancer Center. Our music therapist visits the chemotherapy infusion room and plays various types of therapeutic music.

Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Support Group meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. in the Smilow Family Breast Health Center. The focus of this group is education for the newly diagnosed person and is co-facilitated by a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Arts at the Center is offered on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in the Whittingham Cancer Center Conference Room. This program provides a stress-free environment emphasizing self-expression and a way to process feelings.

The Cancer Support Group meets on Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. in the Whittingham Cancer Center’s Conference Room. It is an ongoing informal support group to help people with cancer, their families and friends cope with cancer.

The Spiritual Care Department provides ongoing spiritual and emotional support to out-patients and in-patients. No appointments are necessary.

A Bereavement Group meets on Mondays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. in the Whittingham Cancer Center Conference Room. It is a weekly gathering that uses mutual support in working through issues of loss and mourning. This group is open to anyone who has experienced a loss for any reason.

Integrative Medicine Services are also an important aspect of over-all wellbeing. “We have expanded our program so that services are available to anyone who may be interested, including our physicians and hospital staff," Mrs. Versea said.

Medical massage and reflexology therapy is a gentle type of massage that helps relax, relieve pain, calm the nervous system and improve physical function.

Reiki therapy, an ancient art of hands on healing, focuses on the energy centers of the body. Reiki eases discomfort, restores balance and sustains health. It is effective in decreasing fatigue, nausea, pain and anxiety.

Acupuncture, offered by licensed acupuncturists, use small needles placed in specific areas of the body for therapeutic relief. Acupuncture promotes a healthy recovery from surgery, relief from pain, nausea and discomfort and provides a sense of balance and equilibrium between the mind and body.

Herbal and Supplement Counseling helps individuals optimize their health by educating them on the proper way to take supplements with prescription medications and prevent potential drug interactions.

Yoga and Tai-Chi Classes are available. Times and locations can be obtained by calling Integrative Medicine at 203-852-CALM (2256).

Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster is a program for anyone preparing for surgery. This program enables people to have some control over their surgical experience by the power of positive thinking.

The Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital also conducts screenings for breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancers to promote the early detection of cancer.

For more information on any of these programs offered to patients and their families, please call the Whittingham Cancer Center at 203-852-2148 or visit

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