Patient and Family Support Programs

Whole Body Wellness Program | Healing Arts | Exercise for Energy | WeCARE!™ | Caregiver Education and Navigation WorkshopsYoga Class | "Look Good, Feel Better"® | Quality of Life Care Program | Grief Support | Renee’s Place

Study after study confirms that support programs play an important role in beating cancer.  Which is why we offer a variety of programs at no cost to patients.

Our goal is to improve the quality of life not only for the patient, but also for the family and the caregiver. 

This approach addresses social, psychological, emotional, and functional needs before, during and after the course of treatment. We use an integrated, whole-person approach that addresses the social, emotional, and functional aspects of a patients cancer journey to improve the quality of life for the patient, the family, and the caregiver.

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Whole Body Wellness program

Participation in this free Whole Body Wellness Program offers people a sense of control over their treatment.  Addressing the emotional aspects of cancer treatment is important for psychological and physical wellness. Topics of the program include stress reduction, communication, nutrition, support networks, specific disease treatment, exercise and problem solving. The Whole Body Wellness Program is specifically designed to run for 26 sessions; a 5 month weekly intensive phase followed by a monthly meeting maintenance phase once per month for 6 months.

This specialty program is based on the research of Dr. Barbara Andersen, distinguished clinical psychologist, from Ohio State University. Her findings suggest that newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who follow Biobehavioral practices have increased chances of survival and reduced likelihood of recurrence of cancer. The Tahoe Forest Cancer Center has generalized Dr. Andersen’s program to meet the needs of most cancer patients. View topics.

Contact Kirk Ditterich, PsyD Coordinator of Support Services, at (530) 582-8207 or by email

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Healing Arts

Interactive support utilizing art and creative writing. Simple art projects will be offered in the infusion room, as well as monthly workshops to incorporate group projects. This is an opportunity to identify and explore feelings related to your diagnosis and treatment to help alleviate stress and provide supportive healing.

Kirk Ditterich, PsyD Coordinator of Support Services (530) 582-8207 or email

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Exercise for Energy- Classes available in Truckee and Incline Village

Specially designed for current and recovering cancer patients. This 6-week class offers guidance, support and useful tools to maintain health and wellness. The class incorporates strengthening, stretching, breathing, balance, cardio, wellness education, and massage. All classes are supportive, medically managed and taught by health professionals, and will give you the tools you need in a supervised environment.

Contact Michelle Larson, MPT, CLT-LANA, or

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The WeCARE!™ Community-Based Cancer Peer Navigator program provides special support on an individual basis. This program matches newly diagnosed breast and prostate cancer patients with trained cancer survivors. The WeCARE!™ program is available to any newly diagnosed cancer patient, regardless of where the patient receives treatment.

Peer navigators are breast cancer or prostate cancer survivors who have been trained to be “coaches.” They will provide information on your disease and treatment options, as well as resources to help you and your family. They are also trained to assist you with problem-solving and coping strategies. If desired, a peer navigator can go with you to your doctor’s visit or treatments.

For more information, call Ann Ajari at (530) 582-6367 or or Kirk Ditterich at (530) 582-8207 or

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Caregiver Education and Navigation Workshops

Supporting your loved ones through cancer can be a difficult and confusing experience. Tahoe Forest Cancer Center understands that an educated and supported caregiver is a powerful force in the fight against cancer. This Workshop covers topics such as: navigating billing and insurance; help support your loved one with proper nutrition; time to ask specific questions about cancer, treatment and diagnosis; and whole body wellness.

Contact Michelle Larson, MPT, CLT-LANA, or

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Yoga Class

A combination of yoga postures (asana), breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation, this gentle class helps students relieve stress and anxiety, gain greater body awareness, and strengthen from the inside out. Patients are encouraged to work at their own level to improve physical, emotional, and mental health throughout treatment and recovery.

Contact Michelle Larson, MPT, CLT-LANA, or

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“Look Good, Feel Better” ® program with American Cancer Society

This American Cancer Society program is designed to help women overcome the appearance related side effects of cancer treatment. Expert local estheticians offer this program monthly. Supplies must be ordered, so please be sure to register in advance.

Contact Kirk Ditterich, PsyD Coordinator of Support Services, at (530) 582-8207 or by email for dates and registration

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Quality of Life Care Program

Quality of Life Care (palliative care) is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. This specialized care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness, whatever the diagnosis.

The goal of Quality of Life Care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Care is provided by a team of physicians, nurses, and other specialists who work with the patient’s other physicians as an extra layer of support. Quality of Life Care is appropriate at any age and any stage of serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment by a Quality of Life physician.

• Helps to provide the best possible quality of life for a patient and their family

• Helps patients and families manage the pain, symptoms, and stress of serious illness

• Is in partnership with the patient, medical specialists, and the patient’s family

• Is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment

• Provides an extra layer of support for families and patients with serious illness

For more information, contact Stephanie Hanson, RN, CHA,at (530) 582-6653 or by email

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Grief Support

Tahoe Forest Hospice Services offers a Grief Support Group in a safe and supportive environment. We’ll help you develop insight in how to endure the loss of a loved one, ease the burden of grieving alone, and develop skills for adjusting to a new life situation. Group meetings are free of charge and open to the community.

Contact Tahoe Forest Hospice (530) 582-3534 or email

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Renee’s Place

Understanding the loss of someone close and getting beyond trauma and grief is very difficult for anyone – especially for young people. The Renee’s Place program gently guides children, teens and families through the grieving process. A generous collection of books, videos, and resource materials are available in your local school and public library. The program also provides trained volunteers who offer compassionate bereavement support in a support group or one on one environment.

Contact Tahoe Forest Hospice (530) 582-3534 or email

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