NEW YORK--Cancer Care, Inc. has introduced Crossing Bridges, a national program to provide medically accurate information and ongoing emotional support to malignant melanoma patients receiving adjuvant therapy with interferon alfa-2b(Drug information on interferon alfa-2b) (Intron A).
The program, made possible by a grant from Schering-Plough Corporation, is designed to encourage treatment compliance by providing diverse support services during the entire treatment period
"The side effects during Intron A therapy can be significant, particularly at the beginning," said John Kirkwood, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. "I call it 'a flu in a bottle'; ie, headaches, fever, nausea, and loss of appetite."
These symptoms and the year-long treatment can be emotionally challenging. "Someone will be there to guide patients every step of the way," said Diane Blum, executive director of Cancer Care.
Patients will receive a journal to log thoughts and questions, and chart therapy milestones; a list of support services and recommended readings; one-on-one counseling and support groups through Cancer Care (1-800-813-HOPE); a monthly phone call from a nurse counselor; and information about the Buddy Program, which pairs a current patient with someone who has successfully completed treatment.