Pain-Management Initiative for Cancer at Greenwich Hospital

From Greenwich Time and Darien News

Greenwich, CT (May 10, 2016) – An expanded effort to mitigate the physical distress and pain that cancer patients endure is being made at Greenwich Hospital. A pain-management specialist will be developing new initiatives at Greenwich Hospital.

Julie H. Huang, MD, MBA – a board-certified, fellowship-trained interventional pain management specialist and anesthesiologist – has joined the Greenwich Hospital medical staff to lead the development of a premier Cancer Pain Management Program as part of the hospital’s Sackler Center for Pain Management to serve Westchester County and Southern Connecticut.

“The establishment of a cancer pain management program is a critically important enhancement to the comprehensive pain management services already provided at the Sackler Center for Pain Management,” said Gary Kalan, MD, director of the Anesthesiology Department. In addition to treating cancer-related pain, the Sackler Center for Pain Management offers a variety of therapies to relieve back pain, sports injuries, arthritis and other conditions caused by surgery, accident or illness.

Dr. Huang meets with patients at the Smilow Cancer Hospital, Greenwich Hospital Campus (77 Lafayette Place). “Half of all cancer patients have pain at the time of diagnosis and another third can experience pain during therapy,” she said. “Sixty to 90 percent of people with advanced cancer will report having some form of pain.”

Advances in interventional cancer pain management use imaging to intercept pain at its source. Options for treating pain include single interventions (medication or numbing agents injected directly into the source of pain), neurolysis and/or radiofrequency ablation (to selectively destroy nerve cells carrying pain signals), and continuous interventions (implanted devices for continuous delivery of medication or technology to release natural pain-relieving hormones to relieve pain).

“Decreasing the level of pain leads to increased comfort and reduced stress, which lessens the psychological impact of the disease,” added Dr. Huang. “Proper pain management can boost an individual’s immune system, ward off infection, and potentially limit cancer progression while reducing the need for narcotic pain medication. Most importantly, controlling pain allows patients to continue their treatment plan – whether it’s chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery – to improve their overall prognosis while restoring and maintaining a quality of life.”

Holistic approach to care

Committed to patient care, Dr. Huang takes a holistic approach and works closely alongside specialists in neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, neurology, medical oncology, surgical oncology, palliative care, radiation oncology, rehabilitative medicine and alternative medicine specialists. Integral to her practice are cutting edge pain treatments, including minimally invasive fluoroscopic and ultrasound-guided treatments to improve quality of life and reduce cancer-related pain for a broad range of cancers.

Dr. Huang’s passion for cancer pain arose from a combination of her clinical expertise and several years of translational research during college and through the Medical Scientist M.D, Ph.D. Training Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She earned her medical degree with letters of distinction and has published several studies regarding cancer genomics and targeted kinase drug discovery for variety of cancers with collaborations at Stanford, MIT, and UCSF.

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