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Integrated Health

Integrated Health

Our patient advisors have established special amenities designed specifically for cancer patients.  Georgia Cancer Center’s outpatient services amenities include:

A Café offering a healthy selection of snacks and beverages.

The Image Boutique which features wigs, head wraps, hats and other accessories for cancer patients looking for a fun shopping experience.

A Meditation Area where patients and families can have private quiet time either indoors or outdoors.

The Rooftop Garden outside the Infusion Suite.

The Pat Sodomka Family Resource Library, which offers educational materials and computers for patients looking for information about their cancer diagnosis and treatment options.

Support Group Meeting Spaces: where support groups can bring cancer patients together.

Integrated Health

Our patient advisors have established special amenities designed specifically for cancer patients.  Georgia Cancer Center’s outpatient services amenities include:

A Café offering a healthy selection of snacks and beverages.

The Image Boutique which features wigs, head wraps, hats and other accessories for cancer patients looking for a fun shopping experience.

A Meditation Area where patients and families can have private quiet time either indoors or outdoors.

The Rooftop Garden outside the Infusion Suite.

The Pat Sodomka Family Resource Library, which offers educational materials and computers for patients looking for information about their cancer diagnosis and treatment options.

Support Group Meeting Spaces: where support groups can bring cancer patients together.

The Image Boutique

Feeling positive about how you look is important to many people faced with cancer, especially when treatments can alter your appearance, such as with hair loss or mastectomies.

The Georgia Cancer Center’s Image Boutique focuses on improving self-image and self-esteem by helping you look and feel your best, which can boost confidence and enhance the quality of life. Our image recovery specialist, is a licensed cosmetologist and licensed mastectomy and prosthetic fitter who can meet with you for a confidential consultation to assist with fittings, selection of wigs, prostheses, surgical and mastectomy garments, or compression garments.

(Note: A physician prescription is required for wigs, prostheses, surgical and mastectomy garments, or compression garments.)

The Image Boutique fund was established to provide financial assistance to any woman who is either uninsured or whose insurance does not cover the cost of wigs, breast prosthesis, surgical bras, compression sleeves, or other products that may help patients cope with the physical effects of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

To give by check, make the check payable to Georgia Health Sciences Foundation. Please, be sure to include the following information on the “Memo” line of the check: 21646-Image Boutique.

Mail the check to:

Georgia Health Sciences Foundation, 
Office of Advancement, 
1120 15th Street, FI 1000, 
Augusta, GA 30912

 

Located in the Cancer Center's Outpatient Services clinic, the Patricia Sodomka Family Resource Library is a warm, welcoming multi-media center that is tailored to your information needs. Our library staff can help you find information about the latest advances in cancer treatment. The library is a valuable resource for patients, families, and our community.

Our staff is available to help you find answers to specific questions or use the computer-based search systems. The library focuses on all aspects of the cancer continuum: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, quality-of-life, and grief issues. Browse the growing collection of books and reference materials the library has to offer. The library staff also work closely with the on-site dietitian and social worker to ensure patients receive up-to-date information on nutrition or assistance.

You will find materials on topics including:

  • Specific cancer types and treatments options
  • Clinical research
  • Stress management
  • Pain management
  • Fatigue
  • Nutrition
  • Explaining cancer to children
  • Spirituality
  • Grief
  • Survivorship

The library offers access to two free databases. These may be accessed on personal or Mac computers in the library or from home.

  • Medline Plus: A consumer health site that provides links to reputable web sites on specific diseases and to prepared literature searches from the Medline Plus database. You will also find links to medical dictionaries, physician and hospital directories, clearinghouses, non-profit organizations offering information to consumers, and interactive tutorials.
  • PubMed: The National Library of Medicine’s database has access to articles from more than 4000 medical journals. It allows simple keyword searching or more complicated searches using Boolean logic. It also includes a Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) browser and a citation matches.

Lymphedema is a disease marked by chronic swelling in a portion of the body due to accumulation of lymph fluid. The swelling may occur in the arms, legs, trunk, abdomen, head or neck, or external genitalia. In the US, most patients develop Lymphedema following surgery and/or radiation therapy for various cancers such as breast, uterine, prostate, bladder, lymphoma, and melanoma. Other patients develop it without obvious cause at different stages of life. Still others develop Lymphedema after trauma, blood dots, or circulation problems.

The therapists at Georgia Cancer Center are Lymphedema specialists with Lymphology Association of North America certification, the highest standard ensuring best quality of care. They are experts in the field of Lymphedema and Oncology Rehabilitation with over 20 years' experience.

Many cancer survivors experience an array of adverse physical side effects of cancer treatment. These include

  • Lymphedema
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Impaired balance
  • Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIPN)
  • Decreased strength
  • Loss of fine motor function
  • “Chemo brain” or problems with attention, concentration, and memory

Survivors should not be expected to accept their “new normal”. Many of these physical side effects are able to be rehabilitated. Our Lymphedema Care service provides occupational therapy to improve quality of life and restore function.

Lymphedema is a progressive disease. If left untreated, Lymphedema interferes with wound healing and increases potential for infection. If the swelling persists, tissue and skin changes as well as pain can occur. This can lead to functional problems such as difficulty walking, decreased use of arm/hand, decrease in endurance and strength. 

With early intervention and proper treatment, the condition can be minimized. Techniques for self-management and maintenance of swelling reduction and other side effects are essential factors in control. Evidence indicates that those at high risk can offset Lymphedema development through bioimpedance monitoring, a practice employed at the Georgia Cancer Center for those at high risk. This tool can be used to identify and address Lymphedema at its earliest stage, improving outcomes. 

Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is the gold standard for lymphedema management. All four components of CDT (Manual Lymph Drainage, Compression Therapy, Exercise, Skin care) are essential for the best therapeutic outcomes. Lifelong management of lymph edema with CDT provides patients with independence, empowerment, and an improved quality of life.

Individuals whose surgery or cancer treatment included lymph node removal and/or radiation therapy. Individuals who have any type of swelling that does not resolve, including chronic venous insufficiency. Individuals who are at risk due to obesity, lymph node excision, and radiation therapy, and wish to learn risk reduction strategies to offset a lifelong condition. 

Referrals

To learn more about the Lymphedema and Oncology Rehabilitation services, including access to these services, you can email Hari Kashyap or call 706-721-0593. You will need to fax a signed physician order/referral to the Lymphedema Clinic with the patient's demographics, insurance information and pertinent medical history to our call center at 706-721-1459 or 706-721-4770.

Here are some tips from our oncology registered dieticians:

  • Keep a healthy body weight - Keep your weight in a healthy range during treatments. Do not try to lose weight during treatments. This may help you deal with side effects from treatments. It may also help you recover more quickly. If you begin to lose weight, ask to see a dietitian.
  • Drink enough liquids - Drink liquids every day. Drinking liquids helps your body stay hydrated. If you do not get enough fluids, you can become dehydrated. If you become dehydrated, you could miss treatments or need to go to the hospital. Signs of dehydration are being very tired, feeling light-headed and nausea (feeling like you might throw up).
  • Exercise if you can - Exercise may help you feel better during your treatments. It can help you feel less tired and anxious. Be sure to discuss your activity with your doctor.

Follow food safety rules

Some cancer treatments can weaken your immune system. This makes you more likely to get sick. Follow these food safety rules to help keep you healthy:

  • Wash your hands before eating
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables well
  • Keep foods at right temperatures - Keep cold foods below 40°F and keep warm foods above 140°F.
  • Eat only fully cooked meats, fish and poultry

Multivitamin and mineral supplements 

During and after cancer treatments it might be hard to eat a balanced diet. It may be helpful to take a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement. Look at the labels of vitamins and minerals to find the Daily Values percentage (DV%). Choose one with 100 percent or less of the Daily Values (DV%) of each vitamin and mineral. Avoid supplements with larger DV% of vitamins and minerals. Be sure to tell your doctor and dietitian what supplements you take. 

Some cancers can affect a person’s ability to talk or swallow. If you are having difficulty communicating or swallowing, you may need to see a speech therapist. A speech/language pathologist is a speech therapist who evaluates how safe it is for you to swallow different textures of food and liquid. If you are having difficulty with understanding, processing or expressing language, you may also benefit from speech services.

Our speech pathologists provide 6-day/week coverage for inpatients and schedule outpatients Monday through Friday from 7:30-5:00. For more information, contact Stephanie Reyes via email or by calling (706) 721-6009.

Stephanie Reyes, MS CCC-SLP: Stephanie is a Speech-Language Pathologist. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Public Health Sciences. She continued her education at USF, where she was employed as a research assistant and obtained a Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Her research background includes, but is not limited to, semantic properties in language acquisition in children as well as dysphagia and exercise science in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. She completed her fellowship in Sarasota, Florida prior to relocating to Augusta in 2013, where she works as both an inpatient and outpatient speech therapist. Areas of expertise include voice, dysphagia, Head and Neck Oncology, and speech-language rehabilitation. Outside of work, Stephanie teaches ballet.

Survivorship Program

It can be difficult to know what to expect after cancer treatment is complete. Many people find that they become more anxious after treatment ends, uncertain about what to expect next, or fearful that their cancer could return. The survivorship clinic is here to address your post-treatment questions and concerns.

In this one-on-one visit, an experienced survivorship nurse practitioner will go through your treatment summary in detail and provide you with a brief document outlining all of the treatment you have received. This specialist will review with you what signs to look out for that may indicate recurrence and what tests may be done to monitor for recurrence. You will be provided with information about what to expect in the long term from your cancer treatment and how often you should schedule a follow-up. This information is also sent to your primary care provider to ensure he/she is up-to-date with your treatment history and post-treatment needs in order to help coordinate your care.

 

Our Providers

Augusta University Medical Center specialists provide care and support throughout your entire healthcare journey.

Badamosi, Nnenna Ukachi, MD, MPH

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Ferris, Daron Gale, MD

Family Medicine

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