Primary care physicians, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, nurses, oncology nurses…the list of people you can interact with during your cancer journey is seemingly endless—and it can change constantly. Each one of these professionals plays a different role in treating your cancer. But, add one more to the list, the oncology social worker—the person responsible for treating YOU.
A social worker seeks to improve the quality of life and well-being of individuals, families, couples, groups and communities through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, crisis intervention and teaching.
For someone impacted by cancer, a social worker can make all the difference. Oncology social workers support patients and their loved ones in a myriad of ways, including providing available resources, information regarding medical and insurance coverage and tips for how to talk to your loved ones about your diagnosis. Oncology social workers often offer relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety, lead support groups and help identify areas of distress. They’re not just advocates for the patient, but for the whole family.
March is National Social Work Month, a time to say thank you to social workers for their hard work and unending support. At CSC, we’re honoring our many social workers through our #31DaysofSW campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is also a time to raise awareness of the important work social workers do every day. Here are a few things you may not know:
- Social workers are the largest group of mental health care providers in the United States.
- Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States with more than 600,000 people employed in the field.
- CSC is likely the largest employer of oncology mental health professionals (including licensed social workers).
- This year’s Social Work Month theme is Forging Solutions out of Challenges, and it celebrates the work social workers do to make our lives and communities a better place.
For more resources, information about CSC’s programs and services and to speak to a licensed-mental health professional, please call the Cancer Support Helpline at 1-888-793-9355. The Helpline is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.