Jessica Bauman Shares NIH Research Grant to Test Palliative Care Innovations for Head and Neck Cancer Patients

PHILADELPHIA (June 13, 2019) — Jessica Bauman, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, recently received a one-year grant from the Palliative Care Research Cooperative (PCRC) Group as a part of its pilot funding program. The funding is supported by a larger annual grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research to the University of Colorado Denver and the PCRC.

Bauman will use her share of the grant to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of integrating palliative care into the treatment plan for head and neck cancer patients. Although she treats patients with several types of cancer, Bauman selected head and neck cancer for her research because the treatments often cause side effects that severely impact quality of life.

“Head and neck cancer is highly survivable, but treatments can lead to pain, difficulty eating and speaking, and changes in appearance, as well as anxiety and depression associated with these concerns,” she said. “My goal is to make managing these symptoms an integral part of the oncology care plan for these patients and people with other cancers.”

The grant will support a pilot test of the feasibility and acceptability of palliative interventions as a routine part of cancer care, and a study of patient coping strategies. It will be the first study of palliative care integrated with treatment for a largely curable cancer.

“This research will demonstrate that palliative care can be a seamless part of the plan to manage side effects and assist with coping at any point in a patient’s treatment,” Bauman said. “Our findings will serve as preliminary evidence for what will hopefully become a larger randomized study in the future.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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