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Support Resources

American Cancer Society Resources

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a source of support and information to Karmanos patients. Additional programs coordinated through the ACS provide helpful services to receive support during treatment such as Road to Recovery, where ACS volunteers provide patient transportation to and from treatment; and the Reach for Recovery mentoring and support program

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Art Therapy

healing thru art image

Healing Through Art

Healing Through Art is dedicated to the promotion of healing for cancer patients through the creative visual arts process. This is a free resource to cancer patients. 


  • To facilitate health and wellness through the use of art therapy
  • To add beauty to the healthcare site 
  • To provide ongoing art experience, even after treatment ends
  • To provide art therapy to individuals while undergoing chemotherapy
  • To utilize art therapy with the cancer support groups
  • To further McLaren's commitment to provide state-of the art treatment services to our patients through evidence-based practices

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Cancer Care Conferences

A multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists, including doctors, residents (doctors-in-training), nurses and other health care professionals involved, gathers weekly to discuss patient care to ensure that a comprehensive evaluation of treatment options takes place.

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Cancer Rehabilitation

Cancer Rehabilitation Program

We are committed to bringing you the highest level of survivorship services

McLaren Northern Michigan is proud to offer our Cancer Rehabilitation Program. The program focuses on helping survivors to heal physically and emotionally as well as possible. The Cancer Rehabilitation Program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach in which caregivers from different specialties team up to help patients increase strength and energy, alleviate pain, and improve daily function and well-being.

We offer comprehensive care that is covered by health insurance

We are uniquely qualified to offer premium cancer rehabilitation services to cancer survivors undergoing treatment or living with its aftermath. Our program has been created to help survivors physically and emotionally heal from the side-effects of treatments. We provide our patients with the most comprehensive cancer rehabilitation care available and all of our services are reimbursable by health insurance providers.

We offer our patients a personalized rehab plan with an interdisciplinary approach

After undergoing a thorough evaluation by a physician, our team of medical specialists will be assigned to each patient according to his or her individual needs. Our healthcare team consists of specialists in the following areas: physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and oncology nurses. Each team member provides his or her expert medical guidance, training, encouragement and support, for the duration of the program.

Outcomes of the Program Include:

  • Reduced fatigue
  • Having more energy to do the things you enjoy
  • Increased endurance for daily tasks
  • Ability to walk further distances
  • Reduced musculoskeletal pain and joint stiffness
  • Improved balance
  • Increased strength
  • Reduced long term effects of chemotherapy
  • Improved swallowing function (for certain cancers)
  • Improved communication
  • Better memory
  • Reduced limb swelling

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Cancer Survivorship and Wellness

This four-week program offers education and support to cancer patients and their family members. The sessions focus on living well with a cancer diagnosis, as well as learning skills for the promotion of physical and emotional well-being. Attendance at all four sessions is encouraged. Family members or caregivers are also welcome to attend.

Cancer Survivorship and Wellness is a free community service, held at the John and Marnie Demmer Wellness Pavilion and Dialysis Center Space is limited. Register today and call 800.248.6777.

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) is the oldest survivor-led cancer advocacy organization in the country, advocating for quality cancer care for all Americans and empowering cancer survivors. NCCS believes in evidence-based advocacy for systemic changes at the federal level in how the nation researches, regulates, finances, and delivers quality cancer care. NCCS organizes Cancer Advocacy Now, a legislative advocacy network that engages constituents across the country in federal cancer-related issues. Patient education is also a priority for NCCS. To learn more about the NCCS, please visit


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Genetic Counseling

A family history of cancer can increase your own risk for developing the disease. While most cancers occur by chance, it is estimated that about 5-10% of cancer cases run in families (hereditary). 

The Cancer Genetic Counseling Service can help you learn about the impact your personal and family history has on your chance of developing cancer, as well as the risk to other family members. It can also help you understand your options for prevention, early detection, and treatment. 

Should you consider genetic counseling?

The Cancer Genetic Counseling Service is helpful to anyone who has anxiety and/or concern about their risk of cancer. This service is useful if you have any of the following:
  • Several relatives with cancer
  • A personal or family history of a rare or unusual cancer, such as male breast cancer
  • A relative with more than one type of cancer
  • A personal or family history of cancer under the age of 50

What can you expect during an appointment?

  • Complete evaluation of your family history by a genetic counselor and doctor who specialize in cancer genetics
  • Risk assessment  
  • An estimation of your chance to develop specific cancers based on your family history and other risk factors
  • An estimated chance that cancer might be passed along through the genes in your family
  • Discussion of genetic testing options. If you pursue testing, results are shared with you during a return visit
  • Information about ways to lower your risk of getting cancer and ways to find it early when it is most easily treated

What difference can cancer genetic counseling make?

An evaluation with the Cancer Genetic Counseling Service could save your life. The information gained during your appointments will help by informing you of your own cancer risk and ways to reduce this risk. It will also allow your doctor to develop a management program unique to you. 

Finally, this information will help your family members who may be at an increased risk of developing certain cancers and might benefit from frequent cancer screening. Family members who may not be at an increased risk of developing cancer and may not need unnecessary cancer screening will also benefit from this services. 

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Lodging and Transportation

Click here for a list of lodging facilities that are near the hospital and offer reduced rates for patients and families If someone close to you is hospitalized at McLaren Northern Michigan and you need overnight accommodations nearby.

For lodging near Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, click here.

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Lymphedema Treatment

Therapy and Treatment for Lymphedema

What is Lymphedema?

lymphedma rehab

Lymphedema is an accumulation of fluids that occurs when your lymphatic system is impaired. Lymphatic vessels, which assist in fluid discharge, can become impaired as a result of the removal of lymph nodes, from chemotherapy, or from radiation treatments. When breast cancer related lymphedema occurs, there is a swelling or change in tissue texture occurring in the arm and upper torso.

Treatment Options:

  • Manual Lymph Drainage: A manual technique is performed to open lymphatic pathways and move fluid to areas where it can be reabsorbed into the system
  • Multi-Layer Bandaging: Short stretch compression bandages are used to create a gradient of pressure to move fluid and decrease swelling
  • Patient Education: Regarding skin care, precautions and prevention
  • Therapeutic Exercises: Exercises specific to the needs of each individual patient
  • Facilitate referral for appropriate compression garment

Goals of our Program:

  • Reduce the size of limb
  • Decrease the risk for infection or hospitalization
  • Self management of lymphedema
  • Improve function and mobility of the limb
  • Decrease pain associated with excessive limb size

Relative Contraindications:

  • You may not be a candidate for lymphedema treatment if you have any of the following:
  • Acute viral/bacterial infection
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Kidney malfunction
  • Untreated malignancy

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Nutrition Counseling

The Karmanos Cancer Institute offers assistance with patients in need of nutritional instruction. Our goal is to provide patients and their family members with accurate, helpful nutritional counseling.

Your nutritional needs vary depending on your disease, treatment and metabolism. All patients do not have difficulty with nutrition. For information, or to discuss any nutritional topic such as special diets, herbal medicines and dealing with eating difficulties, please contact our registered dietitian at or call 1-800-KARMANOS.

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Oncology Patient Navigator

Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Program

When someone diagnosed with cancer comes to Karmanos Cancer Institute, they will receive exceptional care from our entire team. Our Patient Navigator Program features a dedicated registered oncology nurse who works to guide patients through the health care system, ensuring they receive seamless, coordinated care, along with any other necessary support services. The patient navigator is a constant, a familiar face that is always there to answer questions, reinforce patient education, ease anxiety and eliminate any barriers that might impede care. What's more, the patient navigator will communicate with the primary care physician, ensuring they receive up-to-date information about their patients' progress.

Specifically, the patient navigator seeks to:

  • Address your questions and concerns
  • Link you to resources regarding insurance and payment assistance
  • Refer you to transportation services, if needed
  • Direct you to further health care services
  • Identify helpful local resources and support services
  • Help you track appointments
  • Act as a resource for helpful health care information for you and your family

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Social Work & Case Management Services

Acting as an integral part of our multidisciplinary teams at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, our oncology social workers and case managers are available to patients and their families throughout all phases of the cancer journey to help adapt to the stresses related to your diagnosis.

For patients with a new cancer diagnosis, an oncology social worker can:

  • Provide individual counseling and emotional support in dealing with a new diagnosis
  • Help with decision making and advance care planning
  • Make referrals to community resources
  • Help with problem solving
  • Present suggestions for helping patients and their families achieve and regain a sense of control in their lives.

For patients with advanced disease, the oncology social worker can:

  • Help provide decision making around end-of-life issues
  • Provide individual counseling, ongoing support, comfort and resources for patients and their families

Social work services include:

  • Adjustment to illness/crisis counseling and support
  • Support groups/educational workshops
  • Information and referrals to community resources and programs (i.e., transportation, housing, financial, legal, Medicaid/Medicare, SSI/SSD)
  • Assistance with decision making and problem solving (i.e., advance care planning, guardianship, placements)
  • Advocacy

Care management services include:

Care Management Specialists (CMS) are registered nurses (RNs) who work hand-in-hand with patients, their families, caregivers, medical staff and the community. A CMS makes certain that an appropriate plan of care is developed to meet the homecare needs of Karmanos patients. Most times, a CMS works with a social worker to address complex patient care needs. 

  • Communicating and collaborating with your multidisciplinary team to address specialized and/or complicated patient care needs
  • Coordinating and facilitating home care, IV infusion and durable medical equipment needs of patients when referred by a member of the multidisciplinary team
  • Working with insurance companies to solidify plans to meet the patient's homecare needs
  • Educating patients, families and caregivers regarding the importance of following the plan of care

Patient Accounts Coordinator

Helps with questions regarding:

  • Facility billing
  • Financial help options
  • Referrals to L & S
  • (Medicaid expediting service)
  • Assistance with Charity Care
  • Help finding other programs that may help with financial burdens

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Support Groups, Screenings, and Programs

For local support groups, screenings, and special programs located around McLaren Northern Michigan hospitals, click here.

For Karmanos Detroit or Farmington Hills locations, please click these links: support groups, cancer screening information, special programs and education

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