Each person’s cancer experience is different. We know it is not easy to manage cancer treatment along with your job, relationships and other life priorities.
At PathWell, we connect you to comprehensive, personalized support to help make the challenges of cancer treatment more manageable for you and your family. The PathWell Program is a part of the Stanford Health Care Cancer Center.
PathWell is your connection to personalized, supportive services before, during, and after your treatment.
We provide symptom management, therapeutic counseling, and more to help you and your family during your cancer experience. With just one call to PathWell, you can speak with a clinical team member to access services that are right for you.
We encourage you to read through this list early and often also to check back in with our services often during your treatment, as new needs may arise for you at any time.. Some of the services in PathWell can be accessed directly (phone numbers are included below) while other services require a referral from your care team. Call us to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I deal with my anxiety and fear? How can I cope?
Call PathWell to speak with a team member who will help you identify professional therapists, services, and resources that we offer to support you and your loved ones. Many of these services are free for Stanford patients and families.
Can my family member or friend attend my appointment?
Always feel free to bring someone with you to your appointments. A family member or friend can help ask questions, jot down or remember the information your care team gives you, and provide support.
Can I record my discussion with my doctor during my appointment?
By California state law, you must let your care team know that you would like to record your conversation if you would like help remembering your discussion with your care team. If you would like help remembering your discussion with your care team, we encourage you to let your care team know that you would like to record your conversation.
My children are having a hard time coping with my diagnosis. How can I help them?
The decision to include children in your journey is personal and different for every patient. Call PathWell to learn about the support available for your family members or to speak with your social worker about an approach to involving your family that is right for you. In addition to our services at Stanford, some of our patients and families have recommended:
What is an Advance Health Care Directive? Where do I get one?
An Advance Health Care Directive is a form you can complete to identify who you want to speak for you and what kind of treatments you would want or not want should you become seriously ill. It is called “advance” because you prepare one before health care decisions need to be made. It is called “directive” because it states who will speak on your behalf and what you would want done or not done. In California, the Advance Health Care Directive includes the appointment of an agent (someone you appoint to make decisions on your behalf) and your healthcare instructions. You can ask your doctor, nurse, social worker, or other health care provider for more information. At Stanford, Advance Directive forms are available on the units and at the clinics. You can also call our Spiritual Care Service to obtain a form or to discuss an Advance Health Care Directive with one of our spiritual care counselors.
What should I expect after treatment?
Our Cancer Survivorship Program will help you adjust and cope with your new lifestyle without treatment. You’ll speak with professionals who specialize in working with patients and loved ones making the transition from treatment to life after treatment.
Who can I talk to about my work and job during treatment?
Our social workers can help you plan for how to manage your job during cancer care. Call your assigned social worker at any time about your work-related concerns such as disability paperwork, financial assistance, and taking a leave of absence from your job during treatment.
For Family & Caregivers
How can I offer support during the patient’s medical appointments or treatment?
There are many ways to provide support to a patient, from helping with day-to-day activities such as hospital visits or preparing food, to coordinating care and services by phone or email. Support can take the form of helping your loved one cope, work through feelings by talking and listening, or just being present. While your natural response can be to put your own feelings and needs aside, it’s important to take care of yourself. Call us to speak with someone about seeking support for your loved one and for you.
How do I balance the needs of the patient with my own needs?
Finding a balance between your needs and the needs of the patient can be challenging. As much as possible, continue to do some of the things that you did before your family member was diagnosed. Call upon family members, friends, neighbors, and community members who can help.
I’m exhausted. Who can I talk to about my feelings?
Seek support from other personal caregivers — you are not alone. We host support groups that meet regularly for individuals who have similar diagnoses, along with their families and friends. Many patients find support in online support groups, also. Talk to your health care team or call PathWell if you would like emotional or spiritual support.
How do I tell my family and friends about the diagnosis? How do I answer all the questions people ask me?
Only you and the patient can decide the right time and the right words to tell family and friends about the cancer diagnosis. Family and friends may have a wide range of reactions, from wanting to know more details to giving advice to not knowing how to react at all. Some of our patients recommend:
Caringbridge allows people to share updates, photos, videos, words of encouragement and even help with everyday life like meals, carpools, errands and appointments. www.caringbridge.org
MyLifeLine is designed to help people affected by cancer write updates, schedule help and collect donations. www.mylifeline.org
What are the side effects of the patient’s treatment? How do I help the patient manage these side effects?
Common side effects include fatigue, constipation, loss of appetite and nausea, but the patient’s specific side effects depend on the treatment and the medication. Ask the health care team to prepare you to identify and to help manage side effects. Keep track of:
Date and time the symptom or side effect started, a description of the side effect or symptom, and how long it lasted
Which symptoms or side effects worsen or become difficult to manage
Which side effects should be reported right away and how to report them
Which side effects require a visit to the emergency room
What hotels are located near Stanford if I need to stay overnight?
Your social worker can provide you the most current information on housing and hotels near Stanford’s clinics and hospitals. Call PathWell to speak with a social worker, or for more information, view our Where to Stay page.
Schedule a Consultation
To schedule a consultation please call 650-498-6000. Press Option 2 and ask for PathWell.
The PathWell Program is open to current patients of the Stanford Cancer Center.