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Help is on the phone: Reducing pain and depression of cancer
Date:7/13/2010

INDIANAPOLIS Pain and depression associated with cancer symptoms often unrecognized and undertreated can be significantly reduced through centralized telephone-based care management coupled with automated symptom monitoring, according to researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine.

The Indiana Cancer Pain and Depression (INCPAD) study combined automated calls with follow-up calls from the nurse care manager to reduce pain and depression in cancer patients. Calls were made to individuals with all types of cancers seen by rural and urban community-based oncology physicians.

The improved outcomes of the patients who received the telephone-based care management and the feasibility of this approach is reported in the July 14, 2010, issue of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).

"Because oncologists are busy with testing, chemotherapy and other treatments, they often have too little time left for quality of life issues, like pain and depression. We felt one solution might be a partnership between a telephone-based symptom management team and community-based oncology practices. We found that an economical, centralized approach is feasible to conduct and significantly improved symptoms of both depression and pain in patients in any phase of cancer from newly diagnosed to long term to recurrent to cancer free," said Kurt Kroenke, M.D., the study's principal investigator. Dr. Kroenke is a Regenstrief Institute investigator and an IU School of Medicine professor of medicine.

An INCPAD nurse manager reviewed the data collected from the automated symptom monitoring phone calls that, for example, instructed the patients to rate their depression and pain on scales of 1 to 10. This data allowed the nurse's phone contacts to be more efficient by targeting areas needing attention. Although most study participants, whose average age was 59, elected automated surveillance
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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