Caring for patients with a cancer diagnosis is a team activity. All members of your health care team play a critical role by specializing in a particular area of your care. Oncology pharmacists are an important part of this team.
Oncology pharmacists work in a variety of areas within the University of Michigan Health System—including the Cancer Center. The main role of the oncology pharmacist is to be the expert on medications. We work with your doctors and nurses to assure that medications used in the treatment of cancer are used safely, in the most effective way while minimizing side effects.
Some oncology pharmacists work in a pharmacy in the Cancer Center preparing IV medicines, or medicines for you to take at home. Others work in clinics providing education and care to patients about chemotherapy or other supportive care needs. Some pharmacists work within the hospital directly with your medical team and are available for consultation regarding side effects and medication counseling. Others also work closely with our clinical trials preparing medication protocols with the clinical investigators.
Nearly all oncology pharmacists would tell you that the most rewarding part of our job is to contribute to making YOU feel better. This may be in a different way for each of us. Some of us help to make you feel better by recommending nausea or pain medicines, some provide you with information about your chemotherapy and possible side effects and others can provide a comprehensive review of all of your medicines and health care needs!
Did you know that our patients can schedule an appointment with a pharmacist at the Cancer Center if they are having difficulty with medications? Just call the Symptom Management & Supportive Care Clinic at 877-907-0859.
Here are some helpful tips for success from an oncology pharmacist:
- Be sure your health care team knows what medicines you take. Take an updated list with you when you go to appointments. Don’t forget to make changes to your list if your doctor or nurse changes your medicines.
- Be sure your medication list includes any herbs, supplements, vitamins and over the counter medicines that you take. Some of these products can interact with other medications and are just as important to list as your prescriptions.
- If you are unsure about what your medications do or how to take them, ASK QUESTIONS!
More resources from the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center:
The Cancer Center’s Symptom Management and Supportive Care Clinic helps patients maintain independence and increase comfort by managing the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of its treatment. The program is designed to assist patients at any stage in their cancer treatment. To make an appointment, call 877-907-0859.
The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan for cancer patient care. Seventeen multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.