Supportive Oncology Program Integrates Palliative Care and Cancer Treatment

In March, 2013, the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute together with the Ruttenberg Treatment Center, which provides outpatient cancer treatment, launched the Supportive Oncology Program to integrate palliative care into outpatient cancer therapy. This partnering enables cancer patients receiving treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, to see a palliative medicine practitioner right at the Treatment Center.

Palliative care is available to patients with any type of cancer, regardless of their prognosis. They do not need to be “end-stage” to receive or benefit from palliative care. The specific goals are to alleviate spiritual, physical and emotional suffering. The Ruttenberg Center’s teams of oncologists, social workers, nurse practitioners/physician assistants and nurses address the unique needs of cancer patients.

Palliative care can relieve common treatment side effects, such as fatigue and neuropathy (nerve pain) which can interfere with everyday functioning. It also can address emotional issues, such as the loss of identity that can come from not being able to work full-time or be physically active. Our goal is to provide safe haven for patients and their families to express emotions and discuss issues they are dealing with in the face of illness.