Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J. – March 5, 2018 - There’s more to caring for cancer patients than treatments and doctor’s visits.  At Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey the Social Work Department is dedicated to treating the ‘whole’ patient.  Led by Barbara Hale, MSW, LCSW, this team of compassionate professionals helps patients and their families navigate important issues one may not think about in connection with the cancer journey. 

“The kinds of issues we help patients explore are as diverse as the individuals, the kinds of cancer, and where they are in the cancer journey.  We may help them navigate the complex systems and programs, seeking answers and assistance for their practical problems,” notes social worker Brenda Bly, LCSW, LCADC.

Cancer is a “big disrupter,” says Bly.  “With that, social workers also provide supportive counseling to help patients and families adjust, adapt, and find a firm footing.  Cancer and its treatment can impact work, family, friendships, finances, and even a sense of ‘self.’  In response to this complexity, social workers wear many ‘hats’ and provide a variety of services that can include individual and family counseling, navigation, education, information and resources, to name a few.  The goal is to enable patients to get effective care and to cope more effectively with all that comes with their diagnosis,” she adds.  

“As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our social workers are an important part of our multidisciplinary care teams that provide individualized treatments for each patient,” states Rutgers Cancer Institute Chief Medical Officer Deborah Toppmeyer, MD, who is also a professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  “We pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of our social workers during this National Social Work Month.”

To learn more about the social work team and patient support services at Rutgers Cancer Institute, visit:  

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Rutgers Cancer Institute, along with its partner RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not available at other facilities across the state.  Patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies throughout the state at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as at RWJBarnabas Health. 

Along with world-class treatment, which is often fueled by on-site research conducted in Rutgers Cancer Institute laboratories, patients and their families also can seek cancer preventative services and education resources throughout the Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health footprint statewide. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-8013 or visit Follow us on Facebook at


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