Survivorship Services

It's our goal to make life after cancer the best it can be.

Every patient seen in our Survivorship Center receives a comprehensive survivorship care plan — a guide for staying healthy as you begin your new life as a survivor.

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Dealing with life after cancer begins with the search for helpful, timely and accurate information about all aspects of survivorship. We offer a wide range of services, workshops and cancer support programs to help you manage any emotional, physical and spiritual challenges as you move beyond treatment.

Acupuncture focuses on the movement of a person’s energy flow, or qi, (pronounced “ch'i”), which flows through a system of pathways in the body called meridians. Acupuncture helps to manage many of the long-term effects of cancer treatment, such as:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Digestive complaints

Acupuncture is also important for general supportive care, to help you regain and maintain your health and well-being.

Learn more about Roswell Park's Acupuncture Program

Cancer, cancer treatments and medications used to manage cancer symptoms can have varied effects on the oral cavity, causing other problems during and after cancer treatments. These problems can resolve quickly, but in some cases they may last a long time — sometimes years after cancer treatment has finished. The most common side effects of chemotherapy agents include oral pain, burning mouth, infection, dry mouth, mucositis (sores of the moist lining of the mouth and GI tract), taste disturbance (loss of taste or metallic taste), tooth decay and overgrowth of the gums.

Most of the time these side effects are short-term and clear up after chemotherapy ends. However, long-term oral side effects are linked to other cancer treatments, such as stem cell/bone marrow transplant, bone-strengthening drugs (for example, bisphosphonates, denosumab) and radiation therapy to the head and neck. These include oral graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) — which is when part of the bone dies due to medications, and bone death from radiation — dry mouth, tooth decay and taste disturbance. Whether short-term or chronic, these side effects can greatly affect quality of life, but they can be treated.

Learn about the Dentistry and Maxillofacial Prosthetics service at Roswell Park.

Anxiety and depression are common after a cancer diagnosis. If you experience these feelings, the psychologists in our Survivorship Clinic can support and guide you. They can also address concerns related to cognitive function, fatigue, pain, sexual function, sleep disorders and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They can also provide family support.

Learn more about the emotional support programs offered at Roswell Park.

Some cancer patients face the risk of infertility due to the location of the tumor or the type of treatment. If you hope to become a parent in the future, Roswell Park's experts, in association with Buffalo IVF Associates, will explain the choices available to you. Reproductive specialists, facilitated through the Wellness and Integrated Medicine Center, will meet with you as soon as possible so you'll have the most options for fertility preservation. 

To learn more about fertility counseling or to schedule a consultation at Roswell Park, contact the AYA Program at 716-845-4800; choose option 1.

Learn more about the fertility programs at Roswell Park.

Kim Sweeney: Working with insurance providers. from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

You have a lot on your mind. We know that issues concerning your family's finances, insurance coverage, employment and housing can affect your health and even your cancer treatment and outcomes. Legal issues can pile up quickly, but the expertise and guidance of a professional can make a big difference in relieving some causes of stress.

Massage therapy can be beneficial to the mind, body and spirit, both during and after cancer treatment. While massage does not treat the cancer itself, scientific research has documented its potential benefits, including reduced pain, fatigue and anxiety, improved sleep, greater range of motion, sharper mental function and alertness. It is extremely important that your masseuse or massage therapist has been trained to work with cancer patients. Roswell Park offers monthly massage sessions for patients and caregivers.

Learn more about the benefits of oncology massage.

Cancer and its treatment can affect your sex life, but few men talk about it. Erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, hormone problems and other issues can result from prostate and bladder surgery, long-term chemotherapy or radiation to the brain.

While you might prefer not to discuss these issues, we encourage you to talk with us to find out how we can help. Our clinic — specifically for men — specializes in diagnosing and treating side effects from cancer therapy that affect your sexual health. “These issues do not have to be permanent,” says urologist Ahmed Aly Hussein Aly, MD, who heads the clinic. “We can manage and treat them.”

Learn more about the services offered through the Men’s Sexual Health Clinic.

Meditation helps many patients feel better and sleep better while reducing pain and anxiety. You can do it anywhere, without special equipment and with minimal training. Scientific studies have documented the benefits of meditation, which has been shown to relieve depression, anxiety, lack of concentration, high blood pressure, inflammatory disorders, asthma, PMS, arthritis and fibromyalgia, among other conditions. To learn about Roswell Park's Mindfulness/Meditation program, call 716-845-4800, option 1.

The Spiritual Care Department has produced a guided meditation CD that focuses on the healing presence of music.

Learn more about the benefits of meditation for cancer patients and survivors.

Good nutrition will help keep you healthy during treatment, speed your recovery and make it less likely that you'll develop new cancers in the future. It can also protect you from heart disease and obesity, both of which can be controlled by diet and lifestyle decisions. Our dietitians can help you:

  • Promote strength, healing, general well-being and enhanced quality of life through optimal nutrition
  • Embrace a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious food choices and meal planning to decrease the likelihood of cancer recurrence or the development of a secondary cancer or other health problems
  • Find reliable nutrition resources in your community to assist you in meeting your nutrition goals

Learn more about nutrition and survivorship at Roswell Park and how to get a referral to a nutritionist.

Survivors who have completed cancer treatment often find themselves dealing with secondary issues that can affect their quality of life. The specialists in our Rehabilitation Services Department can help you increase your strength, control pain, improve your balance and manage everyday activities to the best of your ability, through physical, occupational and lymphedema therapy.

Physical Therapy: The PT staff offers a number of different services, depending on the type of cancer you have and your specific needs. Working with your physician, the PT staff will work to maximize your physical abilities and comfort levels, to ensure the quickest, most effective recovery. Physical Therapy services are available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The Physical Therapy offices are located on the first floor of the hospital. Call 716-845-3271.

Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy practitioners help modify your activities and surroundings so you can do the things you want and need to do to maintain a high quality of life. 

Lymphedema is a chronic condition in which a fluid called lymph builds up in the tissues and causes swelling, usually after surgery and/or radiation treatment to the lymph nodes. Roswell Park's Lymphedema Program features a team of physicians, surgeons and physical therapists who will work together to help relieve the symptoms.

Reiki (pronounced ray-kee) is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation. Sessions are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Scott Bieler Clinical Sciences Center, 3rd floor, in the annex of the Survivorship and Supportive Care Clinic. Call 716-845-4800, option 1, for more information.

Learn more about Reiki.

Cancer screening is extremely important for cancer survivors. Screening tests can  detect cancer long before symptoms appear, and cancers found through routine screening are generally smaller and at an earlier stage, when treatment is most effective. Roswell Park’s Cancer Screening Center offers a comprehensive cancer education, screening and prevention program, and provides screenings for these cancers: breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, prostate and skin. When you come to the Survivorship Clinic, we review your screening needs with you. Screening services at Roswell Park are available to everyone, not just our patients.

To make an appointment, call 716-845-4800, option 1.

Learn more about your screening tests or request a screening.

A cancer diagnosis changes your life forever and often raises questions about the meaning of life: What is my purpose? Why is there suffering? Is there more than this life on earth? Cancer survivors often express the need to understand what having cancer means to their lives. Many find that cancer causes them to look at life in new ways. Reflecting on your spirituality, faith and religion, along with your purpose and what you value most, can become an important aspect of your life. Roswell Park offers spiritual care for those who request it cancer treatment and survivorship.

The Spiritual Care office is located the first floor of the Hospital in Room 1401. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Religious articles and reading materials are also available. For more information, call 716-845-8051.

Learn more about our Spiritual Care Program.

If you use tobacco, quitting now can lower your risk of cancer. If you already have cancer, continuing to smoke can interfere with the effectiveness of your treatment and your ability to heal after surgery. Roswell Park offers free tobacco-cessation classes for  patients, their family members and everyone in the community. Contact the NYS Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-697-8487.

Learn more about Roswell Park's tobacco cessation programs.

Cancer and cancer treatment can impact a woman’s ability to interact intimately in a number of ways. Changes in anatomy, function and body image, scarring, lack of libido (interest in sex), pain with sex and anxiety are just some of the issues that can result from cancer surgery, radiation to the breasts and pelvis, anti-estrogen treatment and other cancer therapies. Preventive therapy for women at high risk for cancer, such as hormone treatment or surgery to remove ovaries or breasts, also results in sexual side effects.

Sex is one of the natural pleasures and joys of life. It’s part of human nature. Addressing these issues is just as important to survivorship care as treating depression, neuropathy or other effects of cancer. The Women's Sexual Health Clinic, led by a gynecologic oncologist, is open to any woman facing sexual side effects due to cancer, its treatment or its prevention.

“The whole reason you go through cancer treatment is to live life. Being sexual is a part of life and worthy of whatever priority it needs to get it back.” — Melissa Moffit, MD, Gynecologist Oncologist

Learn more about the services offered through Roswell Park’s Women’s Sexual Health Clinic.

Get more information on intimacy and cancer from our CancerTalk blog post.

Yoga is a whole-body philosophy that combines breathing, stretching exercises, postures and meditation. Yoga has been found to help reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue and stress for cancer survivors while also improving sleep and overall quality of life. Yoga is offered through Roswell Park's Survivorship and Wellness Initiative for both survivors and caregivers. Yoga classes are currently running on Tuesday evenings. Call 716-845-4800 if you'd like to sign up for one of the yoga classes.

Learn more about the benefits of yoga and get a tutorial.