News & Events

Novel Approach for the Management of Anxiety and Psychosocial Distress in Advanced Cancer Patients

January 27, 2009

There have been great improvements in the understanding and treatment of cancers within the last several decades which have led to increases in survival rates. However, addressing the physical and psychological needs of individuals with advanced cancer remains an inadequately understood and understudied area of focus. In addition to the physical pain associated with advanced cancer, the process of illness progression often provokes considerable psychological distress for many that can involve anxiety, depression, anger, denial and social isolation. These psychological symptoms, in addition to issues such as loss of perceived self-worth, hopelessness, helplessness and loss of independence, have been associated with significant suffering for the patient coping with advanced-stage cancer.

Indeed, psychosocial issues, specifically depression and hopelessness rather than pain and discomfort have been found to be the strongest predictors of desire for hastened death in an advanced cancer population. The current system of care for patients with advanced cancer is often successful in increasing the amount of time the patient has to live, but very little is customarily done to enhance the quality of interpersonal experiences during the patient's final months. The recent and prominent emergence of the discipline of palliative care has emphasized the need for research and clinical therapies to address the severe and debilitating emotional suffering associated with advanced cancer.

The primary objective of this double-blind pilot study is to assess the efficacy of a novel drug on psychosocial distress, with the specific primary outcome variable being anxiety associated with advanced cancer. Secondary outcome measures will look at the effect of this novel drug on symptoms of pain perception, depression, quality of life and existential/psychospiritual distress.

If you, a family member, or someone you know is interested in this study, please call Krystallia Kalliontzi, M.Sc., Clinical Research Coordinator, at (212) 998-9252.