Skip to main content

Oncology social workers

  • The oncology social workers at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute are part of your medical team and can offer resources and services for you and your family when facing a cancer diagnosis.

    The licensed social workers have a master's level education and are board-certified. They help you and your family by listening to concerns and assisting in creating a plan to address those concerns. They work closely with your cancer care coordinator and doctor to figure out which resources are needed. 

    The role of the social worker involves:

    • emotional support and counseling services to patients and families
    • help with adjusting to illness, outpatient treatment and hospitalization
    • grief and loss resources and referral resources for support groups
    • financial issues/concerns
    • health care directives
    • home care services
    • hospice
    • community resources such as Meals on Wheels® and transportation

    Oncology counseling

    In some locations, oncology social workers also provide short-term counseling for those affected by a cancer diagnosis.

    Individual counseling can help you and your caregivers adjust and cope with the emotional side of cancer. It can also help you:

    • deal with depression and anxiety
    • adjust to physical and body image changes
    • address intimacy concerns
    • manage changing relationships and roles
    • cope with uncertainty of prognosis
    • understand legacy/life work
    • adjust to general change and distress

    Couples counseling can strengthen a relationship at a stressful time. In these sessions, couples can:

    • address the changes that are taking place when a relationship is affected by cancer
    • learn to cope with intimacy concerns
    • manage end-of-life issues
    • discuss how chronic illness can affect role transitions and relationships

    Family counseling is a positive way to help families face a new diagnosis together. Through these sessions your family can:

    • learn to adjust to changing roles
    • manage long-term survivorship issues
    • create legacy-making memories
  • Available at these locations

    Oncology social workers and counseling are available at these Virginia Piper Cancer Institute locations:

    Family counseling can be offered through Simple Talk, a program designed to address the needs of parents diagnosed with cancer who have children under 18.

    Based on the book Simple Talk for Tough Times this program can guide adults in the conversations they have with the children in their lives about a cancer diagnosis and help them cope with the ongoing changes cancer often brings.

    Elephant from the cover of Simple Talk for Tough Times