Poetry, Meditation, and Massage. You Call That Cancer Care?

Behind the science, there's a softer side to oncology treatment.

To address the physical, emotional, and social effects of cancer we offer a wide range of support services to help people cope and recover.

Focus article photo

Kathleen Berger staffs the monthly Women's Words Phone Support Group that is offered over the phone for women with gynecological cancers.

Patient and family support are an integral part of the comprehensive approach at Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Whether in a monthly support group, through expressive art, or with a gentle massage, support services help connect cancer patients and family members to a renewed sense of well-being.

Outcomes are improved with a holistic approach

Studies show that support group participants can experience increased energy, less depression and fatigue, and an enhanced sense of well-being. Support groups at Norris Cotton are facilitated by experienced, caring staff who make a long-term commitment to guiding participants through the long, painful experience of cancer.

What happens in a support group?

Leaders offer up-to-date information on new treatments, drug regimens, surgical procedures, and complementary therapies. Even where there is a specific topic on the agenda, there is always time for sharing, checking in, and catching up with one another.

Sharing stories and encouragement can provide a needed sense of feeling understood. And, everything that is said or discussed is confidential. Groups are held in person, or are conducted by phone over a free conference line. Several groups combine both in-person and phone-in options. Our telephone support groups require pre-registration.

Healing Harpist

A therapeutic harpist plays on Thursdays from 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in all waiting areas at Lebanon's Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Our harpist also visits DHMC inpatients on Friday mornings.

Chair massage

Chair Massage is available daily from morning through early afternoon in a private room just behind the Lebanon 3K reception desk on a first-come, first-served basis.

Patient & Family Support Programs brochure and calendar

Download the Patient & Family Support Programs brochure and calendar (PDF)

Don't forget to breathe

After a cancer diagnosis, things move quickly. People can feel like the rug has been pulled right out from underneath them. It can be hard to absorb, digest, and accept so many sudden changes. We offer a number of classes to help people ease tension and improve awareness with Tai Chi, meditation, relaxation, yoga stretches, and massage.

Discovering yourself again

What can you do with all those thoughts, feelings, and memories that surface when you face cancer? We have a range of therapeutic options. Explore painting, sculpting, or writing as a way to capture your hopes, fears, or joy. People are often surprised by the power of the story they have to tell. We offer all the supplies. Just bring your creativity. It's a chance to create your legacy.

As always, these services are offered by volunteers and funded by generous gifts

We offer patient and family services—at no charge to our patients and families—because of generous donations from grateful patients, local foundations, and community members.

Please join us in thanking the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, the Hypertherm Hope Foundation, Benjamin H. Schore, DHMC Auxiliary, DHMC Arts, and the Gertrude Mertens Arts Endowment Fund. If you want to learn how you can help fund these services call Amy Schrom at (603) 653-0745.

Incredibly talented volunteers offer Reiki, play music, and host knitting groups. Learn more about our many volunteer opportunities by contacting the Volunteer Department at (603) 650-7056.

Learn more

Contact Patient and Family Support Services at (603) 650-7751 or by email at

December 31, 2012