Social worker

The social worker can help you solve practical problems such as lodging or transportation, or link you with community services such as the American Cancer Society or the Peregrine Society. During periods of illness, patients and their families have special concerns. Living with cancer is often a reason for feeling anxious or depressed. Sometimes, talking about these feelings can help you find new ways to cope. The social worker may provide assistance in finding financial coverage for your care, and answering basic questions about insurance coverage.

Clinical social workers hold a Master’s degree in Social Work and are trained to assist you and your family in coping with the stress related to your illness. Your physician, nurse or radiation therapist may refer you to the social worker or you may contact the social worker directly.  There is no charge for social work services. Confidentiality is always respected within the treatment team.

Radiation Oncology Social Worker

(314) 454-7632


The importance of maintaining good nutrition is a vital part of medical care for individuals with cancer. Your physician or nurse may recommend that you meet with a dietitian while you are receiving radiation therapy or before you start your treatment

Dietitians on staff at the Department of Radiation Oncology are registered members of the American Dietetic Association and licensed in the state of Missouri. They specialize in the nutritional therapy for patients diagnosed with cancer. A registered dietitian can assist you with general nutrition counseling, assessment of individual nutritional needs, suggestions for coping with side effects of cancer treatment, use of nutritional supplements, and healthy weight management.

If you would like to meet with a dietitian, please notify your physician, nurse, or therapist.

Spiritual care

Finding out you have cancer commonly raises spiritual concerns for you and those close to you.  Many of us have beliefs, values, and hopes regardless of whether we are affiliated with any congregation. The Barnes-Jewish Hospital Spiritual Care team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for patients and their families.

Why might you want to talk with a chaplain?

  • For help with devotional needs, specific religious rituals and prayer.
  • In dealing with difficult decisions, life changes, family concerns, death, loss, crisis, uncertainty, religious issues and hope.

Barnes-Jewish Hospital Spiritual Care
(314) 362-5200

Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital is a partnership between Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital that works to provide the latest, most efficient care for children and adolescents in a treatment setting geared toward young patients and their families.

For appointments or more information about Siteman Kids, please call 800-678-5437 (toll free) or 314-454-5437.

Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center

The Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center (located in the lobby of the Center for Advanced Medicine) is devoted to assisting anyone whose life has been touched by cancer. The center is open on a walk-in basis for patients and their families to provide up-to-date information on cancer treatment options, resources and emotional support.

Stop by the Health and Cancer Information Center to watch the video Understanding Radiation Therapy before you start your treatment and pick up any information related to your kind of cancer and how to cope.

Smoking cessation program

Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center Radiation Oncology Department is completely opposed to smoking. In consideration of other patients, smoking is not allowed in the Radiation Oncology Department.

Patients receiving head and neck radiation will find cigarette smoke especially irritating. Talk to the physician or nurse if you are having trouble giving up cigarettes.

For those who need help to quit smoking, the Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center offers “Take Control of Your Life,” a six-session behavior modification program offered four times a year. Support and encouragement are provided while an individualized program is developed that will work for you.

Psychological support

The diagnosis of cancer can be very frightening. You may feel overwhelmed by questions and uncertainty of the future. By taking charge of your life and becoming well-informed about your disease, you can become a more active participant in your recovery. Hope casts out fear. The Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center offers a wide range of materials to help you gain information and support for your illness.

The center also offers assistance to patients on a limited income with no health insurance, who need a referral to a psychologist/counselor for emotional support in coping with cancer.

Other Cancer Information Center resources include:

  • Lending library of books and videotapes
  • Selected books and tapes are for sale on cancer, coping and visualization
  • Free wigs and turbans for people undergoing treatment who lose their hair
  • Nutritional supplements for those undergoing treatment who have difficulty maintaining good nutrition
  • Free breast prosthesis and mastectomy bras for women without insurance
  • Emotional support is offered through support groups and individual counseling – included are “Reach to Recovery”, “Can Surmount” and a Prostate Cancer Support Group
  • Computers with internet access for visitors

Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center

Lobby of the Center for Advanced Medicine
4921 Parkview Place
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone: 314-362-7844
Fax: 314-362-1904
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday – Friday

Local organizations

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a national voluntary organization dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, service and rehabilitation.

Services to cancer patients and their families include:

  • Information and guidance: referrals, treatment information and educational  materials
  • Non-sterile dressings
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Transportation to and from treatment centers
  • Assistance for pain medication reimbursement (Missouri only)
  • Rehabilitation Services:
    • Reach to Recovery
    • Can Surmount
    • I Can Cope
    • Look Good, Feel Better
    • Wigs
    • Breast Prostheses

American Cancer Society – Heartland Division

4207 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO  63108
(314) 286-8100
(800) ACS-2345 (toll free)

American Cancer Society – Illinois Division

801 West Main
Collinsville, IL  62234
(618) 345-7911
(800) ACS-2345 (toll free)

American Cancer Society Hope Lodge—St. Louis

Referrals for the Hope Lodge must be made through our Radiation Oncology social worker.

American Cancer Society Hope Lodge – St. Louis

4215 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108


Cancer Family Care Jewish Family & Children’s Services

Cancer Family Care helps people and their families cope with the emotional stresses that arise when a family member has cancer. Professional counseling is available in the office or at another location when needed. Service is provided on a sliding fee scale and may be covered by health insurance.

Cancer Family Care also offers bereavement counseling for people coping with the death of a loved one from cancer. Services are available to people of all ages — from children to adults. Cancer Family Care also provides information to patients and publishes the “Gateway Cancer Resource Guide.”

Cancer Family Care Jewish Family and Children’s Services

9385 Olive Blvd.
St. Louis, MO  63132
(314) 993-1240

The Miriam Foundation 

The Miriam Foundation is a philanthropic organization that provides funds for:

  • Wigs and prostheses for needy patients
  • Dietary supplements for home consumption
  • Infusion pump rental

Patient must be referred by a hospital social worker or other cancer service professional.

The Miriam Foundation

501 Bacon Ave.
St. Louis, MO  63119
(314) 962-6059

Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater St. Louis is an organization that provides housing for the families of seriously ill children being treated at area hospitals and other local medical facilities.

Referrals for the Ronald McDonald House must be made through our Radiation Oncology social worker. 

West Pine Ronald McDonald House

4381 West Pine Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 531-6601

St. Louis Peregrine Society, Inc.

The St. Louis Peregrine Society serves cancer patients in the city of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The following services are provided free of charge when not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or other insurance:

  • Consultation with patient’s doctor to determine need
  • Surgical dressings
  • Prescription medications
  • Transportation assistance to and from treatment centers
  • Prostheses following surgery
  • Dietary supplements
  • Postoperative appliances
  • Assorted items such as gauze and tape
  • Holiday program
  • Special events for children with cancer
  • Respite care

St. Louis Peregrine Society, Inc.

2343 Hampton Ave.
St. Louis, MO  63139
(314) 781-6775

The Wellness Community of Greater St. Louis

The Wellness Community of Greater St. Louis is a support center for people with cancer, their families and friends, and survivors. Educational workshops, stress-reducing programs and weekly support groups help participants to learn they are not alone, find hope and regain control over their lives. These programs are provided free of charge to cancer patients as an adjunct to traditional treatments, and to survivors for continued wellness. Evening and Saturday programs are available and are noted on the bi-monthly calendar.

The Wellness Community of Greater St. Louis

10425 Old Olive Street Rd.
St. Louis, MO  63141
(314)  993-4333

Further reading

We encourage you to speak with your doctors about your disease and treatment.  In an effort to be helpful to you and present objective, unbiased information about cancer, we have provided the website resources listed below.  Remember that this information is not a replacement for the advice of your physician.

Washington University School of Medicine does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of information contained on websites of non-affiliated external sources. Read the School of Medicine’s Policy on Links to Third-Party Websites to learn more.