Matthew J. Loscalzo, MSW | Authors

Problem-Related Distress in Cancer Patients Drives Requests for Help: A Prospective Study

August 01, 2007

The Moores UCSD Cancer Center has implemented the use of an innovative instrument for screening cancer patients at first visit to assist them with distress due to cancer-related problems. This 36-question screening instrument addresses physical, practical, social, psychological and spiritual problems. Patients are asked to rate the severity of each problem on a scale of 1 to 5, and to circle "Yes" if they would like staff assistance. Data from a prospective study of the first 2,071 patients to complete this questionnaire has been entered into a database and analyzed to identify common patient problems, demographics, and trends. The five most common causes of problem-related distress were fatigue, sleeping, finances, pain, and controlling my fear and worry about the future. The five most common problems for which patients circled "Yes" to ask for assistance were understanding my treatment options, fatigue, sleeping, pain, and finances. Compared to the entire population, patients who circled "Yes" on a particular problem, demonstrated a robust increase in problem-related distress.

Knowledge Is Not Enough

October 01, 2006

Cancer causes pain as it invades bone, compresses nerves, produces obstructive symptoms in the pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems, and distends involved visceral organs. This manuscript reviews progress in cancer pain management during the past 2 decades. Since the 1980s, we have seen (1) genuine advances in research on the biology of pain, (2) new approaches to the treatment of cancer pain, and (3) important changes in the health-care system to ensure that pain is appropriately assessed and managed. Currently, clinicians have the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic tools to ensure that the vast majority of patients with cancer pain can be comfortable during their illness. Nevertheless, too many patients with terminal malignancies continue to die in pain in nations around the globe. An effective strategy to make alleviating pain a major health-care priority remains the primary challenge to effectively palliating patients with cancer pain.

Psychological Complications of Prostate Cancer

November 01, 2002

William Pirl and Jeffrey Mello present an informative overview of the psychological impact of prostate cancer. They also provide a practical framework for distress management, as promulgated by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

Prevalence of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Cancer Patients

October 01, 2001

Interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has grown dramatically over the past several years. Cancer patients are always looking for new hope, and many have turned to nontraditional means. This study was