Cancer Counseling

A couple enjoying life afte cancer counselingA cancer diagnosis greatly impacts your life. It affects how you feel, it can change your relationships with family and friends, and it can impact your plans for the future. Many people find that in this difficult time, anxieties can be eased through caring, sensitive support from counseling professionals. Fighting cancer is half the battle, living life is the other half. Our Cancer Counseling Program helps you live your life to its fullest.

The professionals at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center Cancer Counseling Center understand that the medical aspect of cancer is only part of the disease's impact. While medical expertise is essential, our counselors realize that professional support to help you cope with the emotional aspect is invaluable as well.

Programs for Every Phase of Cancer Care

To help patients diagnosed with cancer and their families face the disease and fight it, we offer a wide variety of comprehensive services, including the following:

Individual, family and group counseling:the psychiatrists and psychologists who practice at the Cancer Counseling Center focus on the behavioral and emotional issues patients with cancer face.

We offer counseling in an individual, family or group setting, depending on your needs. Our facilities include a family consultation room, group room and individual offices for comfort and privacy.

Educational and support materials: information is power when dealing with cancer. The Cancer Counseling Center offers a wealth of information dealing with subjects from how to manage stress to forming healthy new habits. The library focuses on providing education on topics such as depression, anxiety, coping with cancer, coping with illness in the family and medication. You can also find information on how to quit smoking, nutrition and exercise during cancer treatments, and relaxation.

Assistance with fatigue, pain, insomnia, appetite disturbances, anxiety and depression: treatments designed to fight cancer can cause unpleasant and distressing symptoms. These may be physical (fatigue, pain, appetite disturbance, sexual), emotional (anxiety, fear, hopelessness, depression), spiritual (hope, uncertainty, meaning of illness), and social (roles and relationships, isolation, work).

The Cancer Counseling Center will help you explore options for treating these complications. In many instances, counseling and relaxation tips are sufficient to deal with discomfort, but sometimes it’s necessary to prescribe medication to help reduce the physical and emotional stress. Our aim is to find the proper balance between these options.

Complementary services: we emphasize a patient-focused approach to treatment. That means we concern ourselves not just with the disease, but also with your complete well-being.We offer a range of services to round out our continuum of cancer care. Each program is designed to help you stay as positive as you can while living with this serious illness.

  • Support groups: group members find understanding and information by talking with others facing the same issues.
  • Spiritual care: chaplains from a variety of denominations are available to listen and explore answers to faith-related questions.
  • Expressive therapy: cancer art therapy can help you explore, confront and deal with your emotions about your diagnosis, treatment and future. We offer these activities regularly. Please call 414-649-7200 for art therapy services.

While the Cancer Counseling Center is located at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, we offer counseling services at a number of Wisconsin locations state throughAurora’s Cancer Care Program. For more information, please call 414-649-6018.

Professional Staff

Julie Bryson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Bryson is a clinical psychologist who creates a healing environment for her cancer patients and their loved ones. She strives to discover and build on the strengths and resources that the patient already has to help them cope. She graduated magna cum laude in psychology from Marquette University in Milwaukee and earned her master's and doctorate in clinical psychology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Deana Johnson, PsyD, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor
Deana Spagnoletti Johnson, PsyD, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor whose training and specialty are in health psychology. Dr. Johnson completed her residency with Aurora Behavioral Health on the psychiatry consult team at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center and elsewhere in the Aurora Health Care system. At the Aurora Womens' Pavillion, Dr. Johnson facilitates the "All About Living" cancer support group and provides outpatient services to individuals, couples and families in the Behavioral Health Clinic. Areas of focus for Dr. Johnson include working with individuals receiving treatment for cancer, seeking bariatric surgery, managing a chronic health condition, or those who find themselves challenged by infertility or recurrent miscarriage, among other behavioral health and medical concerns. She has participated in research related to the relationship between medical conditions and behavioral health issues.

Rina Patel, MD, Psychiatrist
Dr. Patel is an adult psychiatrist who provides psychiatric assessment and medication management for older adults. She also specializes in geriatric psychiatry. Dr. Patel has been working with patients with cancer, within the Cancer Counseling Center, since 2006.

Other providers practicing at the Cancer Counseling Center/Health Psychology Clinic:

Jeffrey Lauzon, PhD, Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Lauzon received his MA in counseling at West Virginia University in 1996 and his PhD in clinical psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006. He has experience in clinical research, teaching and health education, as well as therapy. He completed his residency with Aurora Behavioral Health Services in behavioral medicine and his fellowship developing cardiac psychology services at St. Luke's Hospital. Specialties include work with cardiac, MS, obesity, and cancer patients and their families. He also works with bariatric surgery patients, patients and families suffering with chronic illness, health-related issues, stress, anxiety and depression.

Vani Ray, MD, Physician
Dr. Ray is a board-certified physician with special expertise in the treatment of psychiatric patients with co-existing medical issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression. Dr. Ray received her medical schooling in India and her residency training at Sinai Samaritan Medical Center, where she was elected chief resident, and chosen as Outstanding Resident of the Year. She is also a recipient of the Pfizer Resident of the Year Award.