Supportive Care at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
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Supportive Oncology Clinic

A cancer diagnosis and its treatment can be overwhelming. The Supportive Oncology Clinic works with your oncologist to help with:

  • Symptoms such as pain, nausea, lack of appetite, fatigue, shortness of breath, and others
  • Emotional issues such as sadness or anxiety
  • Concerns about finances or health insurance
  • Concerns about job, family issues, and goals of care
  • Help in coordination of care

The Supportive Oncology Clinic is staffed by a physician who is board certified in Palliative Care, a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner and an oncology social worker. This interdisciplinary team works together with you and your family to manage symptoms, coordinate care and discuss your goals of care.

Goals of Care (Objectives of your treatment)
In order for you to make informed decisions about your health care, it is important to understand your disease process and its likely course. Our team wants to know who you are, what matters to you, and what you hope for. Your values and preferences help us work with your oncologist to tailor care to your goals even if at some point you are unable to speak for yourself.

We include your loved ones as we discuss your goals and priorities, unless you indicate otherwise. How do you and they define benefit and burden? What are the opportunities and risks of various services and treatments at a given time? As your goals and expectations evolve, your care plan can be revised accordingly.

Pain and Symptom Management
The pain and symptom management consultation includes a thorough assessment done by our symptom management experts followed by treatment recommendations. Symptoms may include pain, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, constipation and fatigue among others. At the Supportive Oncology Clinic, a physician and advanced practice nurse, both board certified in palliative care, can provide symptom management.

Social Work Services
Social workers provide emotional support for patients and families and address practical concerns about finances, health insurance, or managing at home. At the Supportive Oncology Clinic, social workers provide information about advanced directives and living wills and help patients complete these forms if interested.


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

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