Head and neck cancer support group launches at Hollings

September 01, 2022
illustration of a person with internal structures visible and the throat area yellow and orange
Head and neck cancer patients face unique challenges. A new support group is tailored to their needs. Image by Adobe Stock

A new MUSC Hollings Cancer Center patient support group focused on patients with head and neck cancer launches this month.

Savannah Zimmerman, R.N., head and neck cancer nurse navigator, said that she and Jason Newman, M.D., director of the Division of Head and Neck Oncology in the Department of Otolaryngology, agreed that establishing a support group was an important step to be able to offer patients wraparound care as the head and neck cancer group grows.

“I want our patients to feel like they have a family here,” she said.

The support group is a nonjudgmental, supportive place filled with patients and caregivers in similar situations.

“They’re never alone. No matter what stage of healing they’re in,” she said.

The group will meet monthly; patients and caregivers have the option of joining in person or via Zoom.

Zimmerman said each meeting will feature a guest speaker in addition to discussion. Hollings physical therapist Katie Schmitt, DPT, will be the featured speaker during the first meeting, in September. She’ll be speaking about lymphedema, a common side effect for many cancer patients, particularly those with head and neck cancer, and how to manage it.

Zimmerman said she’s been happy to see how willing each department is to join the effort and provide guest speakers. Representatives from the Palliative Care and Behavioral Medicine programs are already signed up for future meetings.

The support group will meet from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in Hollings Cancer Center Room 121. To attend the meeting virtually, register on Zoom.