Cancer Patient Support Services

Scripps supports you through your cancer journey

A black woman talks to a white couple about cancer, representing the cancer patient support services at Scripps.

Scripps supports you through your cancer journey

The best cancer care includes more than medical treatment. Scripps Cancer Center offers support groups for people living with cancers, including breast, gynecologic and head and neck, as well as services to help you with the emotional, psychological, financial and lifestyle aspects of cancer. From nutrition and mind-body care to guidance from nurse navigators and oncology social workers, we’re here for you.

Support groups and services

Scripps offers an array of cancer support programs, services and resources to help you every step of the way.

Cancer support groups

Whether you or a loved one has cancer or you’re caring for someone who does, it helps to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Scripps Cancer Center hosts cancer support groups and free workshops and health and wellness events for people living with cancer.

Scripps currently hosts the following support groups for people with specific cancer types. For information about other cancer support groups in the San Diego community, call the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.

Breast Cancer Support Group - Virtual

This support group meets virtually or by phone

2nd Wednesday, 1 - 2 pm

Contact info: Jeanne Vestevich, LCSW, 760-492-5899 or

Breast Cancer Support Group (Chula Vista – Spanish Only)

This support group meets at the Well Being Center - Scripps Mercy Hospital, Chula Vista.

1st and 3rd Monday, 5 - 7 pm

Well Being Center, Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista

237 Church Ave.

Chula Vista, CA 91910

Facilitator: Sabrina Lugo

Contact info: 619-862-6600

Gynecologic cancer support group – Virtual

This support group meets virtually or by phone, bringing together patients who face similar challenges.

3rd Wednesday, 1 - 2 pm

Contact info: Jeanne Vestevich, LCSW, 760-492-5899 or

Head and neck cancer support group

The following support group is for head and neck cancer patients. This includes those diagnosed with hypopharyngeal, laryngeal, lip, mouth, nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, salivary gland, throat and metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary.

2nd Thursday, 2 - 3 pm – Virtual

Scripps Cancer Center

10670 John J. Hopkins Dr.

La Jolla, CA 92121

Facilitator: Chrissy Fidler-Johnson, MA

Contact info: 858-626-5059

Oncology nutrition program

Cancer and cancer treatment can affect your appetite, nutritional needs and ability to eat a healthy diet. Our registered oncology dietitians offer individualized nutrition support for patients with cancer whose efforts to maintain their weight may be affected by cancer symptoms or treatment side effects.

Oncology nurses and nurse navigators

With specialized education and training in the latest cancer treatment and care practices, our oncology nurse navigators provide the highest levels of expertise, compassion and sensitivity. They are available to answer your questions, discuss your concerns and guide you to the most helpful resources.

Oncology social workers

Our specially trained oncology social workers understand the complexities of living with cancer and can provide short-term counseling for patients and loved ones. They help you identify and access the most appropriate community and medical resources, assist with transportation, lodging and financial concerns throughout your care, and help you transition from treatment to recovery.

You can request an appointment with a clinical oncology social worker by informing your nurse navigator, physician or anyone on your Scripps care team.

Palliative care

The palliative care program provides an extra layer of support by helping patients and families manage pain and other symptoms, offering emotional and spiritual support, comfort care and improved quality of life. The team can assist with care-related decisions, advanced care planning and coordination of all aspects of care, including medical, emotional and spiritual services. 

Psychological and emotional care

Patients, their families and friends often need professional support as they adjust to living with a cancer diagnosis. Scripps offers referrals and professional care from experts in psychology, psychiatry and emotional health, including individual and family counseling, to help with the emotional challenges of cancer.

Physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy services

Following treatment for cancer, many patients need the help of physical rehabilitation and/or occupational therapy professionals to regain strength, relearn skills or adapt to changes in their bodies. We offer a full range of physical rehabilitation services for cancer patients to support you through your recovery, including:

Lymphedema care

Certified lymphedema treatment therapists at Scripps Health offer care at several locations in San Diego. Collaborating with physicians and other health care professionals to ensure a comprehensive approach, they develop customized lymphedema treatment plans to help people with lymphedema alleviate pain, reduce swelling, lower the risk of infection and learn self-management techniques.

Genetic counseling

Scripps Cancer Center genetic counselors provide expert, caring support and education to patients and their families. We take a personalized approach to every patient and discuss questions and concerns to help patients make informed, confident decisions about genetic testing.

Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine

Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine blends medical expertise with complementary therapies focused on healing the body, mind and spirit. Our integrative health experts can create personalized cancer support programs, including services such as acupuncture, herbal nutrition and massage therapy, designed to complement other treatments. The center also offers advanced imaging technology for early detection and diagnosis.

Services available at the center include:

Non-denominational spiritual care

Non-denominational spiritual care is available at every Scripps hospital. In addition to providing comfort during a hospital stay, our chaplains can reach out to your own clergy, rabbi or spiritual advisor to coordinate spiritual care and counseling.

Visiting patient services

If you’re receiving cancer care at Scripps but don’t live in the San Diego area, our visiting patient services page provides information about lodging and attractions in the area.

Financial guidance and assistance

Our patient financial services professionals work with patients and families to explore every appropriate resource, including some types of financial assistance. We offer financial assistance (help paying your bill) for those who qualify for a program such as, charity care, discounted care, cash pay or interest-free payment plans.

We offer virtual classes to help you understand your benefits coverage. Register for a Scripps Cancer Center New Patient Insurance & Benefit Information session.

MyScripps health portal

Our free, secure online service for patients, MyScripps gives you access to your outpatient records and lab test results at any time. It also allows you to communicate with your doctors and their staff, make some appointments and request prescription refills.

Comfort items

Many volunteers share their talents with Scripps Cancer Center patients. We frequently have knit hats, lap blankets and chemo pillows that provide warmth and comfort during chemotherapy treatments. Others make inspirational cards and crafts. We share these wonderful creations from the heart to any oncology patient who would appreciate them. Call 858-733-2139 to inquire.

Mind/Body/Spirit classes

You are more than just your symptoms. We recognize everyone needs emotional, mental, and physical exercise to balance and restore your wellbeing. 

Our Shiley Fitness Center and the Center for Integrative Medicine provide a range of classes to meet your needs. Yoga, balance, mindfulness meditation, sound therapy and fitness are offered as pre- and post-treatment programs. 

The Oncology Nutrition Program offers individual consultations and groups cooking classes.

Wig boutique

Patients may need head coverings or a wig to feel comfortable going about daily activities. We offer patients wigs, hats, and scarves to help. To make an appointment for the wig boutique, please call 619-819-6523 or 858-733-2139.

Special assistance

For transportation, lodging (for those visiting from outside the area), meal delivery or another need that is prohibiting you from accessing your care, we have social workers available to help. In addition, we have reliable community-based resources to help. You can request an appointment with a clinical oncology social worker by informing your nurse navigator, physician or anyone on your Scripps care team.

Patient and family library

Scripps Cancer Center has resources to help patients, families and caregivers understand their cancer diagnosis and treatment journey. Our resource libraries include books, brochures and other materials regarding specific cancer types, managing treatment side effects, nutrition and legal information. For more information, please call 619-819-6523 or 858-733-2139.

Glossary of cancer terms

Cancer has a language all its own. To help you and your caregivers understand medical terminology and learn more about the therapies and technologies your care may involve, we’ve developed a glossary of cancer terms. We encourage you to refer to it whenever you come across an unfamiliar term and want more information. We know a cancer diagnosis can seem overwhelming, and many patients find that learning as much as they can about their care helps them feel more in control of their health.

Of course, the glossary is just the beginning. Any time you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask your nurse navigator or physician. We want you to be informed and comfortable throughout your treatment.