Symptom Management is an Ongoing Process

Symptom Management is an Ongoing ProcessRecently, an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pointed out that side effects from cancer treatment can last for years after the cancer has been considered cured. The article notes, “the LIVESTRONG Survey for Post-Treatment Cancer Survivors . . . found 98% of cancer survivors experienced a variety of physical, emotional and practical concerns.”  This can include fatigue, memory problems or lymphedema.

The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Symptom Management and Supportive Care Program offers a clinic which focuses on helping eliminate or alleviate the side effects of cancer and/or its treatment to patients – both current and former – are faced with.  About 40% of the patients seen by the clinic are referred to physical or occupational therapy .  They are working on focusing services to cancer patients so even more can be referred.  Many patient need help building strength, Walker says.  They are often referred to yoga instructors in their communities or provided with instructions on how to start a walking program.

If you are (or were) a patient of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and are experiencing fatigue, lymphedema or any other possible side effect from your treatment, contact the clinic at 877-907-0859.

Continue learning about cancer-related fatigue and symptom management

 

When to ask for help: Talking about symptoms is first step in treating them

Larry Stone asked for help with symptoms related to his cancer treatment.

Larry Stone asked for help with symptoms related to his cancer treatment.

Larry Stone joined a clinical trial in fall 2009 to test a medication that offered the possibility of prolonging the effectiveness of the hormone therapy he was taking to stave off prostate cancer. When he started to experience mild numbness in his hands and feet later that spring, he didn’t think too much about it. But by June, pain and swelling sent him to the hospital overnight.

His hospital stay relieved his pain somewhat, but it prompted him to ask his oncology team a question: “Is there a specialist I can see?”

That simple question triggered a referral to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Symptom Management and Supportive Care Clinic. Stone met with Susan Urba, M.D. — the clinic’s leader — as well as pharmacist Emily Mackler, Pharm.D. Together, the team mapped out a program to reduce Stone’s discomfort.

“That was the start of a great relationship,” Stone said.

Read more about symptom management in the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s patient publication, Thrive. Or, if you are a U-M patient, call 1-877-907-0859 to make an appointment with the U-M Symptom Management and Supportive Care Clinic.