In 1993, Dr. Michael Manning, and Dr. Robert Brooks, along with their colleagues, collaborated with Tucson Medical Center to begin offering the first of what would turn into many cancer support services. The innovative program began with breast cancer support services, but quickly expanded to include patients with all sorts of cancer. Cancer support groups were formed, a resource library was created and practitioners of healing touch, acupuncture, lymphatic massage, meditation and other holistic therapies were contracted to provide patient support and integrative therapies for cancer patients.
In 2001, Sunstone Cancer Support Centers was formed. From 2001 to 2009 the organization offered integrative cancer support services. In collaboration with Sunstone, the physicians at Arizona Oncology added a resource center in the northwest area of Tucson and expanded services to all Arizona Oncology Cancer Centers. For eight years, people touched by cancer sought services at five locations, including a 12-acre retreat center. Financial difficulties caused Sunstone to close in 2009. However, the need for integrative cancer services in Tucson remained.
When Sunstone closed, patients immediately came to the doctors at Arizona Oncology, saying that integrative and support services helped them get through their cancer treatment and it would help others as well. Together, patients and the physicians knew these services had to continue in Tucson. “A volunteer program of cancer survivors had been at the heart of Sunstone. Those determined supporters were the voice that made our doctors realize how important a holistic approach is to the healing process” said Dr. Marilyn Croghan, who spear-headed and became the President of the Foundation. With the support of Arizona Oncology physicians, resource services did continue until Arizona Oncology Foundation could be formed in 2012.
Today, Arizona Oncology Foundation is dedicated to promoting health, healing, and survivorship. The foundation provides supportive programs and services to cancer patients, family members and caregivers, regardless of where they receive traditional treatment or their ability to pay. AOF offers programs in the areas of:
• Image – free wigs, headcoverings, hair and skincare, breast prosthesis and post mastectomy items.
• Social and Emotional – support groups, meditation, and breath-work.
• Education – cancer lending library, Survive Well educational series, physician talks, open houses
where people can sample treatments and health fairs.
• Pain and Side-effect Management – free dental services, integrative therapies such as massage
therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, healing touch, reiki, manual lymph drainage, hypnosis and
• Movement and Nutrition – gentle yoga, qi gong, tai ji, functional strength training, healthy steps, and
nutrition counseling especially for cancer patients.
• Financial Assistance – transportation assistance in the form of gas cards for those who drive but
cannot afford the gas for the numerous trips to doctors and care appointments, bus passes for those
when needed, and ride referrals Lodging assistance is available when someone has to travel a distance
for cancer treatment. Vouchers for co-pays of integrative therapies are available.