Cancer Support Therapy at DCI: Empowering & Inclusive

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Cancer support therapy empowers Duke patients and their loved ones at no charge. Individual or group sessions are part of a collection of services for cancer patients provided through the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program.

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In her first meeting with DCI medical family therapist Patrick Plumeri, Nikki McLean wore a favorite T-shirt that signals both her pride as an identifying lesbian and her support for the LGBTQ+ community. (photo by Erin Hull)

Nikki McLean said a 2018 diagnosis of colon cancer at age 35 “came out of nowhere” and left her uncertain about her future. While a team of Duke Health medical experts treated her body, she also received emotional support through the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program. This service helps Duke patients undergoing cancer treatment and their loved ones at no charge.

McLean, a Raleigh resident and now 38, had surgery in March 2018 and began chemotherapy. She felt better and in the fall started seeing a medical family therapist to gain emotional support. Her sessions are part of a larger collection of cancer support services at Duke that includes individual and group therapy sessions, self-image consultations to help patients look and feel their best, and guidance from rehab experts so patients can move more easily.