Retreats for Cancer Patients

Cancer is an enormous challenge and sometimes the best choice is to just get away from "reality" and take some precious time for going inside ourselves and getting our bearings. It can help to have the support of other cancer patients also focused on whole person healing. It's absolutely amazing how just the right group of like-minded individiuals can seem to coincidentally come together when healing is chosen--and each receives exactly what he or she needs to move forward. It might even to be said to be divinely orchestrated.

Commonweal Cancer Help Program (San Francisco, CA)
Contact Waz Thomas, Program Coordinator, at 415-868-0970.

The Commonweal Cancer Help Program (CCHP) is a week-long retreat for people with cancer. It addresses unmet needs such as finding balanced information on choices in healing, mainstream and complementary therapies; exploring emotional and spiritual dimensions of cancer; discovering that illness can sometimes lead to a richer and fuller life; and experiencing genuine community with others facing a cancer diagnosis.

CCHP is for people at any stage in the cancer journey and their significant others. It provides an exceptionally high quality opportunity to explore the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of healing with cancer. The retreats are limited to eight or nine participants. CCHP works best for people who are comfortable in small group settings and are curious about the healing process. It's an educational, not treatment program. Participants must be under the care of a physician, able to care for themselves, able to participate in the daily program, and medically stable enough to spend a week in a rural retreat setting. This is a well known and well-respected program.

Smith Farm for Healing & the Arts (Washington, DC)
Phone: 202-483-8600

A Washington, DC-based nonprofit health, education and creative arts organization that serves individuals, families and communities affected by cancer. Smith Farm Center retreats and programs foster internal healing, stimulate creative and spiritual resources, enhance living and complement mainstream medical care. Programs are led by a committed community of psychotherapists, artists, writers, physicians, educators, yoga and massage instructors, nutritionists, chefs and other professionals. Cancer Help Program Residential Retreats are held in a lodge setting in the hills just beyond Washington DC, These weeklong residential retreats—designed in partnership with the Commonweal Cancer Help program (see previous listing) developed by Dr. Michael Lerner and Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen — offer a spectacular year-round environment for integration, reflection and healing transformation. There are also day retreats, programs and workshops at their Center in Washington, DC. Some scholarships may be available.

Sunstone Cancer Support Foundation (Tucson, AZ)

Retreats for cancer patients including adults, teens and children, their caregivers, as well as programs for healthcare professionals. Located on a 14 acre ranch, costs are kept low and partial scholarships may be available. Complementary therapies available such as acupuncture, energy work, massage etc. Focus is on mind-body medicine.

Harmony Hill Cancer Retreats (Union, WA)

Harmony Hill’s free cancer retreats are 3 day weekend residential programs (one day mini retreats also offered) that help those facing cancer and their loved ones cope with the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of cancer. Through stress reduction skills, guided imagery, daily support groups for learning and sharing, yoga, and massage, participants facilitate their own healing and restore quality of life. Includes whole-foods meals, and opportunities for relaxation and renewal in a tranquil retreat environment of gardens, nature trails, beach access, and spectacular mountain and water views. All programs are free and include meals and lodging. For more info call 360-898-2363.

Life Beyond Cancer (Tucson AZ)

A three or four day retreat for women cancer survivors at Miraval, Life in Balance resort in Tucson, AZ. Focusing on physical, emotional and spiritual issues related to wellness after cancer treatment, there are a variety of workshops, lectures and group activities. The goal is to enable participants to return to their local communities to begin support services and advocacy programs, while having a meaningful and healing personal experience.

Stowe Weekend of Hope (Stowe, VT)

Held every spring, the Stowe Weekend of Hope was founded in 2001 and continues to be an outreach three day weekend retreat experience for hundreds of cancer survivors and their families in the restorative environment of Stowe, Vermont. Since its inception, this event has grown locally and nationally to continue to inspire the search for new and innovative research and education in both traditional and non-traditional cancer treatments and therapies. This forum promotes real educational opportunities for cancer patients and presents the most current medical research in all areas of cancer treatments.

HealthQuarters Ministries (Colorado Springs, CO)

An 8 day intensive detoxification and immune system building program using raw foods, organic juices, coffee enemas. supplements etc. There is a strong Christian focus with prayer and emphasis on spiritual renewal.

Hawaii Gerson Therapy Retreat (Keaau, HI)

Some background: The Gerson Therapy is a long term nutritional program used successfully for over 50 years in the treatment and prevention of cancer. The nutritional program consists of fresh organic vegetable juices, 3 meals per day made of raw and cooked food and supplemental vitamins, minerals and enzymes. The therapy is based on detoxification and nourishment of the body and restoration of the immune system.

This is a 2 week program, designed to maximize your chances of successfully continuing the therapy at home and it includes plenty of instruction. If you need assistance in your daily activities you are required to bring a companion, who may be a spouse, a child or a friend-- and both of you will be educated about all the aspects of the program. The location is a beautiful naturopathic retreat center on the big island of Hawaii.

Retreats for Children, Teens & Young Adults

Though perhaps not exclusive for these age groups, these camps and retreats are worth exploring for young cancer patients.

Camp Mak-A-Dream (Missoula, MO)

It is a free camp for 6 to 25 year old cancer patients located near Missoula, Montana. Camps held throughout the year. There is a cost for adults.

First Descents (Vail, CO)

It holds free, week long camps in Vail, Colorado and Kalispell, Montana for young adults. Activities such as kayaking, horseback riding, fishing and rock climbing.