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Supportive Oncology

Services and Resources for Cancer Patients

At the University of Chicago Medicine, we deliver compassionate care for our cancer patients. Supportive oncology provides the following outpatient services to support you and your family during cancer treatment:

Palliative Care
Cancer Nutrition
Physical/Occupational Therapy
Social Work and Other Support Services
Psychology/Psychiatry Services
Smoking Cessation
Coleman Foundation Supportive Oncology Suite

Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms and stressors of serious illness. Throughout your treatment, a team of doctors, nurses and other providers delivers this care to improve quality of life for both you and your family. We work closely with the oncology team to provide an extra layer of support and assist with care coordination with other supportive services. Comprehensive palliative care consultation includes:

Assessment and management of distressing physical symptoms including:

  • Physical pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problems with sleep
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Specific screening and referral for emotional, psychological, spiritual care and financial counseling
  • Advance care planning

Cancer Nutrition

Early nutrition intervention, including diet education and nutrition counseling and assessment, plays an important role in cancer treatment. We encourage you to make an appointment if you have a any diet questions or are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Persistent diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Decreased appetite/oral intake
  • Problems with feeding tubes
  • Difficulty chewing/swallowing
  • Dry mouth

Physical/Occupational Therapy

Physical/occupational therapy services can help you minimize secondary symptoms and maintain your functional independence and quality of life. Our medical providers can address many symptoms and issues, including:


  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling/lymphedema
  • Weakness
  • Range of motion
  • Scar management
  • Neuropathy

Functional Limitations

  • Difficulty walking
  • Risk of falling
  • Decreased endurance
  • Loss of independence
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Inability to dress, feed or care for one’s self

Social Work Services

Our licensed clinical social workers offer:

  • Support to help you and your family adjust to diagnosis and treatment, define and maintain your quality of life, and cope with life changes in close collaboration with Psychology/Psychiatry services
  • Assistance in completing advance directives such as the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will
  • Information and referral for resources related to:
    • Transportation
    • Short-term lodging for out-of-town patients
    • Financial assistance programs
    • Eligibility for disability or public benefits
    • Cancer support groups and community-based resources
    • Mental health assessment and treatment
    • Home palliative care or hospice care
    • Help at home

Psychology/Psychiatry Services

Psychological and psychiatric services are available during cancer treatment and across the continuum of care (inpatient and outpatient). These services are provided by a multidisciplinary team involving psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.

  • Screening for psychological distress is performed for all new patients
  • Appropriate psychological services are identified based on these screens
  • Psychiatric services address diagnostic and medical management of psychiatric symptoms and are integrated into the outpatient oncology clinic
  • Targeted psychotherapies, also integrated into the oncology outpatient clinics, are provided by specialized psychologists

Smoking Cessation

We offer an individualized, comprehensive approach to help you overcome nicotine addiction. Our multi-disciplinary team is comprised of physicians, nurses and a tobacco treatment specialist. Social workers are also available to help patients access helpful resources as needed. «Learn more about our smoking cessation program.

The Coleman Foundation Supportive Oncology Outpatient Care Suite

This new suite provides a private, inviting and comforting space for patients and their loved ones to receive supportive services in one convenient location on the 6th floor of the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM) 5758 S. Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637.