University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Helpful Resources

Gastrointestinal Oncology UCSF

Support Groups

The Cancer Survivorship Program is specifically designed for patients who have completed their initial treatment for cancer. At this point, patients find they need different forms of support than while they were in active treatment. Every month, a survivorship lecture is offered. These lectures are open to all cancer patients and their family members. Past lectures have included topics such as coping with uncertainty, movement, nutrition, yoga and sexuality after cancer.

Oncology Social Work.  Oncology social workers are an integral part of the health care team at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Specially trained in cancer care, they are dedicated to helping patients and families navigate the health care system and manage the many challenges of living with cancer. We recognize that a cancer diagnosis and treatment can impact all aspects of a person's life, from family and social relationships to work and finances. Social workers assess each person's individual needs and provide appropriate support. This may include short-term counseling, advocacy and referrals to community resources. Social workers also provide information and education about insurance, advance directives, palliative care, hospice, family leave and disability benefits, lodging, transportation and cancer-related support programs available at UCSF and in the community.  Oncology Social Work services are made possible through the generous support of UCSF Partners in Care.

The Peer Support Program offers cancer patients and their caregivers the opportunity to speak with others who have "been there" and can share their experiences. The program is a free, on-the-phone service of the Ida and Joseph Friend Cancer Resource Center.

Psycho-oncology is open to UCSF cancer patients and survivors seeking additional assistance with distress, coping, or adjustment related to cancer. They offer a new 6-week group treatment. Individuals will learn proven coping strategies and stress management skills to, ease emotional distress, manage fatigue, pain, and insomnia, build self-care skills, and strengthen relationships. Feel free to contact us by phone at (415) 353-7019.

Symptom Management Service

Patients are referred by their cancer doctors to members of the service’s interdisciplinary team. The service provides treatment and counseling for physical and emotional symptoms of cancer. Assistance includes help with pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, advanced-care planning and spiritual issues. Treatments integrate medical, psychological, social work and spiritual approaches, which are offered along with regular cancer care. Care is coordinated with cancer treatments and with the support of patients’ doctors. The service does not have after-hours or on-call availability, but works directly with oncologists for these needs. Doctors are kept abreast of medication and symptom-management needs. Patients who become hospitalized should notify the service for assistance. Give us a call at 415-885-7671during Monday-Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm. Learn more

Nutritional Support and Education

If you are a UCSF cancer patient and would like to meet with a dietitian on a one-on-one basis, requests for appointments can be made by calling 415-502-5547. The services are open to UCSF cancer patients at no charge, although donations are appreciated. A dietitian is available Monday through Friday between 9 am and 5 pm. Learn more

Exercise Activities

The Cancer Exercise Counseling Program at UCSF offers one-on-one exercise counseling to cancer patients at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Jane Clark and Regan Fedric, cancer exercise trainers certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, offer hour-long exercise classes for cancer patients who are undergoing or who have completed treatment.

Core and More class—This class includes Pilates-based mat exercises to work on core strength and stability. We also use rollers, bands, balloons and body weight as tools to enhance range of motion, flexibility, balance and muscular strength. Our goal is to increase your ability to attend to activities of daily living, and to have fun doing it.

Healing Through Dance Class—In  this class, participants use movement, expression, imagery and creativity to facilitate their own healing. Re-awakening the body to action enhances participants' confidence and freedom, while rehabilitative exercise improves function, mobility and strength.

Qigong (pronounced chee gong) is an ancient Chinese health care system that utilizes physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. It promotes good health by facilitating the body's internal healing mechanisms to relieve stress, develop flexibility, improve coordination and increase stamina. This 10-week course will complement your existing health care program and provide you with more energy for your treatment process.

Restorative Movement Class—In this fun and supportive class, you might explore such common human functions as standing, sitting, turning, bending and reaching, or even recreate movement patterns you learned as an infant, such as crawling or rolling. These gentle and pleasurable movement explorations help you to discover new options for moving and acting with more comfort, precision and power. This class is geared toward those in recovery from cancer — including spouses, family and caregivers — and is offered free of charge.

Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient form of self-defense that has been refined into a slow, graceful and rhythmic exercise. Often referred to as moving meditation, it's designed to increase circulation throughout the body, calm the mind and improve balance. Tai Chi Chuan has been shown to improve physical confidence, musculoskeletal flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine offers group beginner and continuing Tai Chi Chuan classes. Participants will learn the basic movements of the Yang-style long form. Classes are taught by a licensed acupuncturist and expert in Tai Chi Chuan.

Yoga has been used for more than 3,000 years to help maintain and restore health. The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine offers specialized yoga classes to meet the different needs of our participants. These include Gentle Yoga for Cancer Patients, Therapeutic Yoga for Stress and Medically Related Conditions and Continuing Therapeutic Yoga for Stress and Medically Related Conditions. All classes are located at the Osher center.

Spiritual and Wellness Activities

Art for Recovery is an award-winning program of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Through this program, patients coping with life-threatening illness, such as AIDS and cancer, are given an opportunity to express their feelings and experiences through art.

Chair Massage therapy, one of the oldest healing arts, at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine,  is used to help reduce pain and anxiety as well as promote general health. Research has found that massage can be effective in treating fibromyalgia, lymphedema, musculoskeletal disorders, neonatal care, pregnancy and sleep disorders, in part by reducing stress hormones.

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction is an eight-week program offered by theOsher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF. It introduces you to the practice of meditation, body awareness and mindful movement. This course is modeled after a program developed at the University of Massachusetts by Jon Kabat-Zinn. There are more than 250 similar programs nationwide. Medical research has shown that mindfulness-based stress reduction is effective for the physical and emotional symptoms of general stress as well as stress due to illness, such as cancer, depression, anxiety disorders, fibromyalgia, psoriasis and chronic pain. Benefit also has been seen in a wide range of other heart and vascular, gastrointestinal, and psychological conditions.

Chaplains with Spiritual Care Services provide support to patients, family members, friends and staff members at UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus, UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. An integral part of our health-care team, chaplains representing many faiths are available around-the-clock to be a caring presence, offer spiritual and emotional support, and listen with openness and understanding.

For International Patients

International Services at UCSF Medical Center assists patients from countries outside the United States. Our staff coordinates all aspects of your visit to our hospital and clinics and is committed to making you and your family feel as comfortable as possible during your stay. Each patient receives care in an environment that respects diverse traditions and backgrounds. UCSF Medical Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 10 hospitals in the United States. At UCSF, you'll find medical solutions not available elsewhere. Patients travel long distances to benefit from our care. Our goal is to provide you with a level of customer service that matches the world-class medical treatment you'll receive.

Interpreting Services are available to patients in several languages including Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish and Russian. We also provide interpreters in American Sign Language. If your English is limited or you're speech or hearing impaired, please ask your doctor or nurse to contact us and an interpreter will be requested at no cost to you.