Programs, services available to cancer survivors

EVERETT — While a number of other health agencies throughout Snohomish County are able to specialize in diagnosing and treating certain parts of breast cancer, many of them refer their support services to the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership.

“Not only do we provide diagnostic services, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, but we also offer support services such as counseling,” said Marilyn Birchman, oncology clinical nurse specialist at the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership. “We actually integrate a lot of these services to make sure we’re caring for your mind and body at the same time.”

Massage, acupuncture, yoga and dietician services are among the host of services provided to patients at the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership, whose scope of programs focusing on patients’ well-being is also expansive enough to include social workers, financial management, childcare, elder care, chaplains and psychologists.

“These are typically fee-for-service programs, although our psychologists, dietitians and social workers are free,” Birchman said.

Birchman touted the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership’s Survivor Series as among its most vital resources.

“When our patients finish their treatments, they often feel depressed or anxious, if only because they don’t have that team there behind them anymore,” Birchman said. “We help them find hope and meaning in their lives, because you tend to look at your life differently after having gone through cancer. For them to move forward, they often need someone to help them develop plans for survivorship.”

The Survivorship Series is an eight-week course that meets every Thursday. Contact the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership at 425-297-5500 for each course’s dates and times.

“They all get to know each other pretty well,” Birchman said. “One of our groups had a reunion about a month ago. These people need continuing support, so that they don’t feel like numbers.”

A free support group specifically for women diagnosed with breast cancer meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, from 10-11:30 a.m., to help them connect with others who are dealing with the same experiences, so that they can educate themselves on issues related to breast cancer and learn to cope with the impacts of the illness. The contact number for this group is 425-297-5521.

Caregivers have more than one support group devoted to their needs at Providence, with the caregiver support group addressing the concerns of individual caregivers, while the “Share the Care” support group is tailored toward those who act as caregivers to cancer patients in groups. While the caregiver support group teaches caregivers how to take care of themselves in addition to seeing to those with cancer, the “Share the Care” support Group” trains groups on how to give care to cancer patients as teams. Call 425-297-5520 for information on either support group.

The Providence Regional Cancer Partnership is located at 1717 13th St. in Everett. For information, log onto


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