Oncology Support Services

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 patient's cancer journey to improve the quality of life for the patient, the family and the caregiver.


Acupuncture provides a holistic perspective for patients at the cancer center. Through the practice of both acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, this program offers a complementary approach to help manage the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation and alleviate some of the dis-ease and stress, both physical and emotional, that cancer patients experience. Group treatments are available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM, by appointment.

Contact Tyler Lapkin, L.Ac, Licensed Acupuncturist, (530) 414-0394, or tlapkin@tfhd.com


Biofeedback trains the patient in relaxation, mindfulness and coherence and teaches self-regulation skills which can relieve and ease chronic pain, reduce stress and anxiety and increase relaxation. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as heart function, breathing, muscle activity and skin temperature and accurately “feed back” the information on a computer screen. What we can see, we can change.

Contact Linda MacKenzie, RN, BCB, Biofeedback Therapist, (530) 386-6731, or lmackenzieparks@tfhd.com

Caregiver Education and Navigation Workshops

Supporting your loved ones through cancer can be a difficult and confusing experience. Gene Upshaw Memorial 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, proper nutrition and whole body wellness.

Contact Kirk Ditterich, PsyD, Licensed Behavioral Health Clinician, (530) 582-8207 or kditterich@tfhd.com

Deep Relaxation for Patients, Survivors & Caregivers

Let go of tension in your body and your mind and learn to visualize yourself in optimal health. Class includes easy, gentle stretching, followed by a fully guided meditation called Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep), where you take a journey through your body to experience deep relaxation and healing. No experience necessary, appropriate for all levels.

Contact Wendy Tylka, PTA, (530) 582-7415 or wtylka@tfhd.com

Exercise for Energy - Classes available in Truckee and Incline Village

Specially designed for current and recovering cancer patients, this ongoing class offers guidance, support and useful tools to maintain health and wellness. The class incorporates strengthening, stretching, breathing, balance, cardio, wellness education, nutrition and cooking demonstrations 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, (530) 582-7415, or mlarson@tfhd.com

General Support Group

A support group for cancer patients. Led by staff psychologist, Kirk Ditterich, Pys. D., the support group explores how to optimize health and healing via adjunctive cancer programs and modalities. The group teaches coping skills, helps reduce anxiety, build resiliency, and provide a safe place for people to share common concerns and receive emotional support.

Contact Kirk Ditterich, PsyD, (530) 582-8207 or kditterich@tfhd.com

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 offer skills for adjusting to a new life situation. Group meetings are free of charge and open to the community.

For information on Grief Counseling and Grief Support Group, call (530) 582-6575.

Healthy Skin from Within

For patients, both men and women, in active treatment. Come and receive free instructions on coping with the appearance-related side effects of your treatment. A licensed beauty professional will teach skin care tips to help achieve healthier skin, and will also provide suggestions for using wigs and headwear. A complimentary skin care kit will be provided. 2nd month of every month, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm. Hosted by Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center.

Contact Ashley Connor, Receptionist, (530) 582-6373 or aconnor@tfhd.com

Kick Nicotine

In this series of workshops, trained clinical psychologists, nutritionists, pharmacists and clinicians will guide you through the process of kicking the habit. Free carbon monoxide testing, relapse prevention support and strategies, and different techniques to replace nicotine cravings.

Contact Liz Schenk, NBC-HWC, BS, MBA, (530) 582-6566 or lschenk@tfhd.com

Individual Counseling/Therapy

A cancer diagnosis can add stress to anyone’s life. Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center offers free individual therapy with a licensed psychologist specializing in oncology. This service is offered to patients, survivors and caregivers. Therapy can often help reduce depression, anxiety and pain, while simultaneously increasing healthy behaviors such as better nutrition, exercise and sleep.

Contact Kirk Ditterich, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist, (530) 582-8207, or kditterich@tfhd.com

Massage Therapy

This therapy service is a client-specific, customized massage designed to meet the changing needs of someone in treatment for cancer. Patients may receive massage regularly when they are in active treatment. When a patient has completed treatment, they may receive 3 additional sessions at the Cancer Center with the option of continuing therapy at a discounted rate with Polly Triplat at her private practice. We recognize the importance of taking care of our caregivers who can receive 3 sessions during this stressful time. Sessions last one hour and are intended to be soothing and nurturing to best support the healing process. Reflexology massage is also available in the infusion room during treatments.

Contact Polly Triplat, CMT, Oncology Massage Therapist, (530) 412-0774, or ptriplat@tfhd.com


SoulCollage® is a therapeutic and engaging creative process. Each collage card you create represents one aspect of your personality or soul. Use your cards intuitively to answer life's questions and participate in self-discovery. Joyfully deepen your understanding of the relationships between your personality parts, you and your family/community/world, and you and your dreams, symbols, and spirit. We learn how to do "readings" which use our own intuition to deepen self-knowledge. Creating SoulCollage® cards is a safe and creative way to empower your authentic self for healing and well-being.

Contact Ashley Connor, (530) 582-6373 or aconnor@tfhd.com, to register.

Tahoe Forest Cancer Center Wig Bank

It’s free! Come in for a one-on-one wig fitting. Available to support women undergoing cancer treatment and experiencing hair loss.

Consultation includes:

  • One free wig per patient
  • Finding a wig that fits your lifestyle
  • Suggestions for using wigs and scarfs

By appointment, contact Ashley Connor, (530) 582-6373 or aconnor@tfhd.com

Telehealth Counseling

Patients and caregivers who are unable to attend office sessions can meet for counseling from their own homes. Participants will need their own internet connections and access to Skype or FaceTime. These sessions can offer help with depression, anxiety and pain while simultaneously increasing healthy behaviors such as better nutrition and sleep.

Contact Kirk Ditterich, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist, (530) 582-8207, or kditterich@tfhd.com

Walkabout Project Exercise

Active and recovering cancer patients who are unable to attend group exercise class due to distance or desire can participate via the internet, using Zoom. Exercise classes meet twice a week for 6 weeks, with new exercises and stretches added each week. By the end of the session, participants will have an exercise program to continue on their own. Participants will need a device to connect to the internet and will need to download Skype.

Contact Michelle Larson, MPT, CLT-LANA, (530) 582-7415, or mlarson@tfhd.com

WeCARE!™ Peer Navigator Program

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” providing information on  disease and treatment options, and to be a resource for patient and family. They are also trained to assist with problem-solving and provide coping strategies. If desired, a peer navigator can accompany the patient to doctor’s visit or treatments.

Contact Ann Ajari, MSW, Medical Social Worker, (530) 412-3262, or aajari@tfhd.com

Yoga for Patients, Survivors & Caregivers

A combination of yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation, this gentle class helps students relieve stress, gain greater body awareness, and strengthen from the inside out. Students are encouraged to work at their own level to improve physical, emotional and mental health throughout treatment and recovery. No experience necessary, appropriate for all levels.

Contact Wendy Tylka, PTA, (530) 582-7415 or wtylka@tfhd.com