Support Services for Cancer Patients

We are committed to providing you with the resources and support that you need to make your journey through cancer diagnosis and treatment as pleasant as possible. For more information on the support services listed below, please call 231-392-8484. 

Breast Cancer Companion Navigators 

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you will have the option of being paired with a navigator companion. Navigator companions are breast cancer survivors who offer emotional support, share information, and help guide patients and their family members from diagnosis through treatment. The Breast Cancer Support Group in Traverse City meets the second Tuesday of every month. Download the flyer for more details.

The Breast Cancer Navigator Program is offered by Munson Medical Center Cancer Services. Start-up funding was provided by the Zonta Club of Traverse City.

Contact us at 231-392-8484.

Breast Health Nurse Navigator

Our nurse navigator provides care for patients immediately after they learn of their breast cancer diagnosis and until they are connected with the support systems needed to have a successful treatment plan in place. The nurse navigator meets one-on-one to provide education for the patient and their family to help them learn about breast cancer and what to expect in the weeks and months to come.

The nurse navigator also helps to make connections between the patient and her care team, including surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists, as well as with support staff like dietary and nutritional services, social work, financial support, and patient advocacy.

Essentials Boutique at the Cowell Family Cancer Center

This boutique includes a private fitting space for wig consultation services, prosthetic fitting services, and compression garment fitting services.

The Essentials Boutique sells products, such as cookbooks, head coverings, skin care products, skin care products for compromised skin, hair care products, cosmetics, and post-mastectomy garments, including bras, athletic wear and bathing suits, among other offerings geared toward oncology patient and survivor needs.

Compression Garment and Prosthetic Garment Fitting Services

The Essentials Boutique offers fitting services and garment ordering services for compression garments, such as post-surgical garments, lymphedema sleeves, prosthetics, including post-mastectomy bras, bathing suits, tank tops, and forms.

Wig Consultation Services

We are pleased to partner with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to provide free wigs for cancer patients. Wigs are provided to all cancer patients regardless of income or health insurance assistance.

Please contact the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345 or the Essentials Boutique for more information on how to receive a complementary wig from The American Cancer Society TLC catalog

For more information, please visit the Essentials Boutique or call 231-213-0508 or 800-227-2345.

Nurse Navigators

Our team of coordinators, primary nurses, breast health nurses, a nurse navigator, nurse practitioners and oncology financial navigators helps patients "navigate" their way from the day they receive a cancer diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Nurse navigators are in Cadillac, Manistee, and Traverse City.

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 am-5 pm

Nutrition Education 

Cancer patients often have special nutritional needs before, during, and after treatment. Our cancer center dietitian can help address changing senses of taste and smell, swallowing difficulty, nausea, mouth sores, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies. Guidance also is offered to post-treatment patients to help rebuild nutritional status and decrease the risk of cancer recurrence.

Referrals for this service can be made through your health care provider. Self-referrals also are welcome. Check with your insurance carrier for coverage options.

For more information call 231-392-8484 or email cancerservices@mhc.net.

Palliative Care

Palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stresses of a serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for both patients and their families. 

What We Do for You 

Our palliative care team consists of a physician, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, spiritual care advisors and licensed social workers. 

The team provides compassion and comfort while emphasizing treatment goals that continue to focus on the quality of life. We will work with your primary care physician to keep you comfortable. 

The service also assists patients and families with medical decisions, advance care planning, and the continuum of care throughout advanced illness. 

Is palliative care right for me? 

Palliative care is for people of any age who experience difficulty in managing pain or other symptoms affecting quality of life. Request a referral from your primary care physician and our Palliative Care team can determine if these services are right for you. 

Is palliative care the same as hospice? 

No. Palliative care is a service that typically provides symptom management for a life-limiting illness in collaboration with the patient’s primary care provider. Palliative care can encompass a one-time consultation or an ongoing visitation schedule to address symptom management needs, provide information on treatment options, offer counseling, and provide supportive care. 

Unlike hospice, palliative care is supportive during the time aggressive or curative treatment is being sought for the illness. Hospice is a Medicare regulated benefit for those patients who have a life expectancy of six months or less. The philosophy of hospice is comfort and quality of life acknowledging that end of life is near. 

How do I pay for palliative care? 

Typically, we will bill your insurance. We accept Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance.

Contact Munson Palliative Care Team 

Call us at 800-252-2065

Social Work

We recognize the unique needs of a person living with cancer, including the adjustments that must occur with a new diagnosis.

That’s why we have an oncology-certified social worker at the Cowell Family Cancer Center who has expertise in the psychosocial and emotional needs of cancer patients.

Our social worker is specially trained and has expertise in emotional trauma, understanding the unique needs patients and their family’s experience. She provides supportive counseling to help each patient and family member.

“The most traumatic part of a cancer diagnosis is loss of control. I want to help patients gain some control back. People will do so much more when they feel like they have control of what is going on.”

A Resource for Support

Oncology social work is a resource for multiple areas of support including:

  • Educational resources

  • Finding financial assistance

  • Life as a cancer survivor

  • Referrals for help at home

  • Transportation and housing needs

  • Workplace issues

To learn about this service, call the Cowell Family Cancer Center at 231-392-8494.