Support and Education
“Cancer" is a scary word to hear and can be one of the most physically and emotionally challenging journeys to travel.
Worries about your health, how you'll navigate daily life while getting treatment, how your loved ones will cope and how you'll pay for treatment can be overwhelming.
At the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care (HACCC), we support you and your family every step of the way. You will not have to walk this journey alone.
MaineGeneral Medical Center (MGMC) and the HACCC offer a range of support services to educate you about your disease and help with emotional, financial and spiritual support needs.
Psychosocial Oncology and Supportive Services
Psychosocial oncology and supportive services provide a variety of programs to enhance the quality of life for patients and family members while they navigate the complexities of cancer diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment.
Watch the video below to hear how psychosocial oncology and supportive services can assist you while you or your loved one are being cared for at the HACCC.
Oncology Social Workers
Highly skilled, compassionate and professionally trained clinical social workers are available at any point in your journey to provide:
- Individual and family counseling
- Caregiver support
- Stress management and relaxation techniques
- Resources, information and advocacy.
Please call (207) 621-6123 for more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our social workers.
HACCC financial counselors can answer your questions about coping with the cost of your care and also help you find financial assistance when necessary.
There are many types of financial support services available to help people undergoing cancer treatment. These may include assistance with travel to and from the cancer center; co-payments for chemotherapy and other drugs; and even help with having enough food to eat. For more information, please call (207) 872-4680, option 3.
Community Resources Navigator
Our community resources navigator can connect you with information specific to your diagnosis, help coordinate transportation services, and provide connections to community support services and resources. Please call (207) 621-9424 for more information.
Our chaplains are open to all religious faiths and expressions as well as those with no religious affiliation. They work with patients and their families to provide emotional and spiritual support. Please call Spiritual Support Services at (207) 626-4815 for more information.
No one understands what it is like to have cancer better than those living the same experience as you. Being together with others reduces feelings of isolation and aloneness. Most of our support groups are led by clinical oncology social workers and RNs with specialized training. HACCC offers the following cancer support groups:
- Cancer (general) Support Group
- Breast Cancer Support Group
- Prostate Cancer Support Group
- Metastatic Cancer Support Group
- Caregiver Support Group
- Journaling and Writing Therapy
For information about our support groups, please call Ruth Coffey, LCSW, at (207) 621-6120.
Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, our support groups currently are not meeting.
Good nutrition is a foundation of cancer treatment. Choosing the right foods to nourish the body can help patients stay stronger and feel better during and after treatment.
A cancer diagnosis and cancer treatments can affect one's appetite. It also can change the body’s ability to tolerate certain foods and use certain nutrients. As part of the support care team, the HACCC's oncology dietitians are available to help patients before, during, and after cancer treatment
Registered Dietitian Consultation
Patients and family members can contact the dietitian at any time and do not have to wait until their physician orders a referral. They may be seen in the treatment area, during clinic visits with the oncologist or through a private consultation. All nutrition consultations are free. The dietitian office is located on the first floor of the cancer center.
Our dietitians can discuss various nutrition topics with patients and families including:
- A review and analysis of current intake for healthier choices that promote healing and reduce risk for recurrence
- Strategies to minimize side effects from treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormonal medications and surgery
- Enhancement of quality of life during treatment
- Management of unintended weight loss or gain through lifestyle and nutrition strategies
- Prevention or correction of nutritional deficiencies
- Guidance on integrative nutritional therapies
- Education about a patient’s individual needs including use of feeding tubes
The dietitian also can provide resources such as recipes and cookbooks, samples of nutrition supplements, classes and other community resources.
Please contact Oncology Nutrition Specialist Jenna Quint, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, at (207) 626-4857 or by email with any nutrition-related questions or to schedule an appointment.
Open Access Clinic
After a cancer diagnosis, and the start of treatment, patients may experience some form of physical discomfort. The HACCC's Open Access Clinic helps care for patients between office visits.
We know it's important to you to be seen by the team that knows your care needs best, and for you to be seen in a familiar place.
Listen to Open Access Clinic Coordinator Ginna Dix, AGNP, as she provides a virtual tour of the clinic and explains how it can help with symptom management.
Living Well Throughout Treatment Palliative Support Program
The HACCC team supports you and your loved ones throughout your cancer journey. We help patients live well by anticipating, preventing and treating symptoms that can impact your quality of life.
Palliative Support helps when:
- You need more information about your diagnosis, treatment and future health
- You need relief from pain, sleep problems and cancer treatment side effects
- You or your loved ones need relief from worry, anxiety or depression
- You need help with advanced care planning for yourself and loved ones
- You need help solving problems, making decisions and overcoming barriers
- You just need to talk about what you are going thru and get support
To learn more, please call (207) 621-6100 and ask to speak with your nurse navigator. You also can watch Susan Trafton, PA, as she describes the program and the support it offers.
MaineGeneral Palliative Care addresses the whole person, not just their disease. It provides an extra layer of support for cancer patients and may be provided at any point in one’s cancer care journey, from diagnosis to the end of life. When a person receives palliative care, they may continue to receive cancer treatment.
Symptom Management Resources
Cancer and the treatments for cancer can have devastating effects on the body. Side effects may include fatigue, pain, balance issues, limb swelling (lymphedema), memory problems, weakness, problems with swallowing or talking or limited mobility.
If you have any of these issues, our clinicians will develop a personal rehab plan to get you back to the highest quality of life. Please talk to your health care provider or nurse navigator about a referral to the program. Our goal is to decrease the side effects of cancer and its treatments and to maximize your quality of life.
Statistics show that one in four patients will develop lymphedema if they have had lymph nodes surgically removed or treated with radiation. The good news is that many cases of lymphedema can be prevented with education and early treatment.
MaineGeneral has occupational and physical therapists, specially trained in the prevention and treatment of lymphedema, who provide therapy at:
- 15 Enterprise Drive, Augusta
- 40 Granite Hill Road, Manchester
- 149 North Street, Waterville
Ask your provider if you can benefit from a referral to this program.
MaineGeneral’s expertly trained team of professionals can help you rehabilitate from a recent surgery, learn to manage a new diagnosis or long-term illness or regain your strength and mobility after extensive cancer treatment. We work with your health care provider to develop a plan of care that meets your care goals. Please talk with your nurse navigator for more information and visit our web page to learn more about our services.
Wellness and Healthy Living
Are you looking for some new tools to help you stay healthy during or after your cancer treatment? MaineGeneral's Peter Alfond Prevention and Healthy Living Center (PAPHLC) offers a variety of low-cost and free classes and online demonstrations to support your health. Click the links below for current classes by category:
The PAPHLC also has YouTube playlists that includes a variety of demonstrations and lessons: