Health & Wellness

Guest Column

What Comes After Cancer: How Summit Medical Group MD Anderson Cancer Center Can Help You Stay Healthy in Survivorship

The family of Summit Medical Group logos.

There is one thing Carol Boyer, APN-C, hears from nearly every patient who has experienced a cancer diagnosis and is moving into survivorship—they want to lead healthier lives.

“A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing experience. Survivors want to do everything they can to be healthier and prevent cancer from rearing its ugly head again,” says Ms. Boyer, RN, APN-C, AOCNS, CN-BP, Clinical Program Manager and Certified Breast Nurse Navigator at Summit Medical Group’s (SMG) Breast Care Center, now a part of the Summit Medical Group MD Anderson Cancer Center. “We listen carefully to what our patients want and understand the science behind living a healthy lifestyle after treatment.”

Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are important in survivorship for all types of cancers. For example, research shows that women with a breast cancer diagnosis who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to experience a recurrence of their disease.

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“Survivorship is part of the continuum of care we believe in and offer to all cancer patients here at Summit Medical Group MD Anderson,” Ms. Boyer says. “In addition to making sure our patients get regular follow-up exams and scans, we offer a variety of programs that focus on nutrition, stress management, and exercise.”

The Breast Care Center Offers Several Support Services

Patients with any type of cancer are welcome to participate. Many of these programs are made possible by a generous grant from the Summit Medical Group Foundation (SMGF). 

Nutrition Counseling

Cancer Transition Series

  • The Cancer Transition Series, provided by the Cancer Support Community and sponsored by Summit Medical Group MD Anderson, is open to any patient who completed active treatment one month to two years ago, and currently has no evidence of disease. 

    This free six-week course focuses on the resources and tools patients need to move from being a cancer patient to a cancer survivor. For more information, call Jill Kaplan at 908-658-5400 x111.

Exercise and Relaxation

  • Gentle yoga, Tai Chi, and acupuncture classes are available at SMG’s Berkeley Heights Campus. For more information, call 908-277-8936.
  • We encourage all of our patients to participate in the LIVESTRONG Program offered at several local YMCAs. This free 12-week small group personal training class emphasizes the importance of physical activity following a cancer diagnosis.
  • The Look Good, Feel Better program teaches beauty techniques to improve appearance-related side effects from radiation and chemotherapy. Beauty stylists teach cancer patients how to take care of their skin, scalp, and wig, as well as apply makeup. The free program, made possible by the American Cancer Society, is available to any patient who has undergone cancer treatment in Berkeley Heights or Florham Park. Each participant also receives a free makeup kit.

Behavioral Health

  • Summit Medical Group MD Anderson has two Oncology Behavioral Health Clinicians, located at Berkeley Heights and Morristown, who are dedicated to help patients with cancer manage their experience from diagnosis, through treatment, and survivorship.  SMG also has three Behavioral Health Centers, located at Berkeley Heights, Springfield, and Livingston locations, where additional therapists are available for individual counseling. 

Support Groups

  • The Breast Center has three unique support groups in both Berkeley Heights and Florham Park.  They include: a group of patients in the first year of diagnosis, a group of individuals who have had cancer for over a year, and a daytime group for any breast cancer patient.

Komen Walk

  • The 2017 Komen North Jersey Race for a Cure walk will be held on Sunday, May 21 at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.  
  • To register, visit On the top right hand corner of the screen, click “Register,” select “Join a Team,” and search for “Summit Medical Group Breast Care Center.” 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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