Cancer is one of the most feared words in the English language. But we do know that many patients with cancer can be cured or given years of comfortable, productive life after the disease is diagnosed. One way to help conquer fear and make the most of those years is to learn more about cancer.
At Norris Cotton Cancer Center, we are dedicated to helping you find the information you need to make good decisions about your care, and to deal with the consequences of living with cancer.
This web page describes resources at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and in the community. We hope it will guide you to supportive programs and information, and stimulate questions to help you understand your situation.
Cancer Help Line: (800) 639-6918
The Norris Cotton Cancer Center Help Line gives information about cancer treatment, prevention, support groups, programs and events, and other resources related to cancer. The Help Line is staffed from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays. At other times, you may leave a voicemail message. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. To reach a live assistant 24 hours a day, please call the American Cancer Society at (800) ACS-2345. To reach the Norris Cotton Cancer Center Help Line, call (800) 639-6918.
Your health care providers
Your doctors and nurses are your primary sources of information. Other members of your cancer team-social worker, dietitian, rehabilitation specialists, and other staff members-also are committed to meeting your needs. If one of these people cannot answer your question, another member of the team can. We hope you will ask questions until you have answers you understand.
Patient and family support services programs
Patient and Family Support Services at Norris Cotton Cancer Center was created to further the mission of patient- and family-centered care. Our goal is to address the needs of the whole person: physical, emotional, social, spiritual. Through classes, support groups, and complementary care programs, our goal is to improve the comfort level and quality of life of people living with cancer and their loved ones.
Our creative arts program is a joint project between the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and DHMC Arts Program. This popular program consists of visits with a visual artist, musician, or writer. Several days a week, our visual artist visits the Infusion Suites and in-patient areas to offer art materials for fun and relaxation. She may also work with a patient or caregiver on a watercolor of "a favorite healing place." Our healing harpist may greet you in the waiting room with soothing tones and invite you to "pluck the strings" to feel the vibrations, or choose a style of music you find most healing. Our writer/poet/storyteller might ask if you'd like to hear poems written by other patients or someone more well-known such as Robert Frost. Your time together may result in a short poem, letter to a loved one, or family story-no prior writing experience necessary!
Check our listing of events to see when our creative arts and hands-on healing arts practitioners are here and for a listing of upcoming classes and other programs that are currently offered.
Call the office of Patient and Family Support Services at (603) 650-7751 for additional information.
Patient and Family Resource Library
The Patient and Family Resource Library, located on Level 2 of Norris Cotton Cancer Center contains comfortable seating areas, a computer and printer for patient and family use, and a helpful selection of books, DVD's and CD's to borrow.
Resources for young adult cancer survivors
A cancer diagnosis is devastating no matter what age you are, but being diagnosed with it in your younger years brings its own set of challenges. If you’re between 18 and 40 and have been affected by cancer, DHMC offers resources specific to you.
Consumer Health Collection
A Consumer Health Collection is available in an alcove of the Matthews-Fuller Health Sciences Library on the top floor at DHMC, overlooking the DHMC information desk in the rotunda. The collection contains books, journals, newsletters, and videotapes on a wide variety of health subjects, including cancer. You can use computer and print indexes to find information on specific subjects. Helpful librarians can find what you need in the Library's extensive collection of books and journals written for health care professionals. Call (603) 650-7660. Another cancer information resource is Dana Biomedical Library on the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth campus in Hanover; call: (603) 650-1660.
Women's Health Resource Center
The Women's Health Resource Center supports women in making informed, efficient decisions about health care. It offers books, videos and audio tapes, and interactive programs on decisions about breast cancer, and publishes a quarterly newsletter. The WHRC coordinates public health programs and events for women with cancer. The WHRC is located on the DHMC mall in Lebanon, NH. For more information, to make an appointment, or to be placed on the WHRC mailing list, call (603) 650-HERS.
Familial Cancer Program (Cancer Risk Assessment)
The Familial Cancer Program (Cancer Risk Assessment) [Link to Familial Cancer Program] at Norris Cotton Cancer Center is a service for people with a strong family history of cancer. Anyone concerned about the possibility that there is an inherited risk of cancer in his or her family can receive counseling. The program's physicians and staff help patients understand their risks of cancer, and recommend appropriate screening measures. For some people, genetic tests will be recommended to help determine whether they have inherited a tendency to develop cancer. Participation in this program is optional and confidential. For more information, please call (800) 251-0097 or (603) 653-3541.
Office of Care Management
In the Office of Care Management at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, social workers who specialize in cancer care can provide assistance and information about financial and legal assistance, advance directives, support groups, transportation, and other resources. Short-term counseling for patients and families is offered. Call: (603) 650-5789.
NCI Cancer Information Service
The NCI Cancer Information Service is a free service of the National Cancer Institute that helps callers with questions about symptoms, treatment, and other topics related to cancer. Call (800) 4-CANCER.
The National Cancer Institute can answer questions about cancer treatment, how to manage symptoms, diet, finances, family issues, sexuality (men), sexuality (women), cancer prevention, alternative treatments, and many other topics.
Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of VT and NH
The focus of Hospice care is to help a patient live as fully and comfortably as possible until he or she dies as peacefully as possible. The Hospice Medical Benefit can be used by all Medicare-enrolled individuals facing an incurable illness. Hospice staff can provide physical, emotional, social, and spiritual care for those faced with a life-limiting illness. Hospice also offers compassionate care for those feeling loss and grief. Visit the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of Vermont & New Hampshire website for more information.
The Palliative Care team is available to assist patients and families with the most difficult aspects of living with cancer. Specially trained doctors, nurse practitioners, a social worker, and chaplain focus on improving the patient's comfort and quality of life. Throughout the course of cancer treatment the palliative care specialists aid the cancer doctors and nurses in treating symptoms, such as pain, nausea, or shortness of breath. They can also help patients adapt to changes in their ability to maintain daily routines.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society delivers cancer information, treatment options, and services to patients with cancer, especially the newly diagnosed, and their families and caregivers. Through programs such as Reach to Recovery, Look Good...Feel Better, and Road to Recovery, the American Cancer Society can improve the lives of cancer survivors. For cancer information or support services 24 hours a day, call 1.800.ACS.2345 or visit www.cancer.org.