Cancer Action Network Urges Lawmakers To Push For More Collaborative Care

Jan 20, 2016

Credit American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network / Facebook

Cancer survivors and their families want Indiana to adopt a more coordinated approach to pain relief for cancer patients.

Most hospitals have palliative care specialists, but Aurmaudra Bradley with the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network says not everyone integrates pain relief into the treatment plan.

Bradley says some hospitals are better than others at recognizing the importance of palliative care.

“There are some hospitals that already have palliative care teams that are working and everything’s going great and the patients are getting that,” Bradley says. “And then there are – somewhere – there are pain specialists there, there are therapists there, but it’s not a coordinated team.”

And Bailey says the need for coordination extends beyond cancer treatment itself.

She says cancer survivors may have lingering physical or emotional issues after treatment.

And while grief counselors help family members after a death, Bradley says more help is needed during a loved one's illness.

“When we lost my mother to cancer, no one offered me any kind of grief services or anything until after she was gone and while I appreciated that, when I really needed grief services was when she was in hospice care,” Bradley says. “The eventuality that I already knew was coming, I could prepare myself for that. I couldn’t prepare myself for seeing her ill.”

The network is urging legislators to direct the state health department to help hospitals craft a more coordinated approach with help from an advisory panel of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and clergy.

The group is also lobbying for the dollar-a-pack cigarette tax increase included in House Republicans' road funding plan.

The Cancer Society calculates the increase would prompt 82-thousand Hoosiers to quit smoking or dissuade them from starting.