August Is Palliative Care and Cancer Pain Awareness Month

Released: 23-Jul-2012 8:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
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CINJ Experts Available for Comment on Innovative Forms of Pain Management for Patients

Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., July 23, 2012 – The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) is making experts available during August -- designated “Palliative Care and Cancer Pain Awareness Month” by CINJ -- to discuss a comprehensive approach to improving the quality of life for cancer patients and their families. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Palliative care is a growing research area that involves the control of pain and other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual approaches to improving patient comfort. Such care was once thought to exist only as a means of providing comfort to those in the end stages of cancer (i.e., hospice care), but with more cancer patients living with and surviving the disease, there has been a focus on providing palliative care through all stages of the illness. Palliative care teams can include a social worker, nurse, clergy member, dietitian and pharmacist, who will work with the patient’s doctor to manage pain and give emotional support.

Pain control is a major component of palliative care. At CINJ, one of the ways this form of care continues to be addressed is through the “CAMpain” initiative (The CINJ Alliance for the Management of pain). In addition to traditional pain medications, both patients and their families are encouraged to explore other alternatives, such as massage or listening to music. Through the “CAMpain” initiative all healthcare providers are educated to provide staff, patients and their families the tools necessary to advocate for the patient through quality reporting and frequent screening.

CINJ experts available for comment include:

Michael P. Kane, RPh, BCOP, is the director of Oncology Pharmacy Services at CINJ, who leads the “CAMpain” initiative. A board certified oncology pharmacist, Kane can discuss the multidisciplinary approach employed by CINJ in providing pain relief through pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment strategies, including those explored in palliative care.

Elizabeth Poplin, MD, is a medical oncologist and co-director of CINJ’s Gastrointestinal/Hepatobiliary Oncology Program, as well as a professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Poplin has expertise in the management of gastrointestinal malignancies through the use of standard and novel treatment options, as well as palliative medicine.

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