USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
USC University Of Southern California

USC Norris Cancer Survivorship Advisory Council (CSAC)

Our Projects

Money Matters: The Financial Toxicity Project

Although drug toxicity in cancer treatment is widely recognized as a cause for concern, the financial toxicity that can accompany a cancer diagnosis too often goes unaddressed, negatively impacting patients’ quality of life. Inspired by the personal story of a council member whose financial assets were consumed by treatment costs, the members of the USC Cancer Survivorship Advisory Council (CSAC) have partnered with hospital staff to identify and address barriers that prevent patients from proactively accessing available financial resources intended to defray cancer-related expenses.

First-Year Medical Student Talks

Council members have the opportunity to serve as guest speakers at the Keck School of Medicine to share their personal cancer stories with medical students in a classroom setting. Students benefit from these talks by gaining an enhanced appreciation for the cancer patient perspective and integrating this new understanding into their own practice of caring for patients diagnosed with cancer.

Our Condolences: The Bereavement Letter

As a result of their experiences, council members appreciate the importance of timely, heartfelt acknowledgements of personal loss. In collaboration with Norris staff, members develop and distribute bereavement letters signed by clinical staff to the loved ones of recently deceased cancer patients.

The Puzzle Table

To counteract the stress that patients may experience while waiting in the clinic for medical visits, the council has implemented a puzzle table in the waiting area to engage and entertain patients and families. Council members supply an ongoing rotation of puzzles on a daily basis for this popular program. We welcome donations of jigsaw puzzles that range in size from one hundred to five hundred pieces. New puzzles are preferred.


We know that writing and sharing our first-person narratives as cancer patients, survivors, and family members serves as a powerful means to inspire others and connect with the community around us. Council members also write for our blog as an exercise in thinking deeper, strengthening individual perspectives, and living more intentional lives. Potential guest bloggers are welcome to contact us for more information about blogging on our site.