The majority of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy undergo implantation of a permanent central venous access device, often referred to as a port. The port serves as a permanent intravenous device (IV) to deliver chemotherapy. Implantation of the port is an outpatient surgical procedure using local anesthetic only. Patients remain conscious, must keep their head rotated 90 degrees to one side and remain very still during this delicate procedure, which takes approximately 60 minutes. Although the port carries obvious multiple benefits for ease of treatment, after the procedure patients often complain of headaches, muscle stiffness and neck and shoulder pain that lasts for several days. Pain medication is the only therapy commonly offered for this and is often inadequate. Furthermore, since this is often the first surgical procedure for cancer patients at the beginning of their treatment, they often have significant levels of pre-procedure anxiety. Safe, efficacious, and cost-effective interventions that can reduce the anxiety and pain related to port placement are needed.
We are conducting a nine-month pilot RCT of 60 predominantly low-income, minority, cancer patients at Boston Medical Center undergoing Port-a-Catheter placement to assess the feasibility and efficacy of massage therapy for reducing pre-operative anxiety and post-operative pain. The study is supported by a grant from the Massage Therapy Foundation.
- Jennifer E. Rosen, MD (Principal Investigator)
- Robert Saper MD MPH (Co-investigator)
- Michele Bouchard, LMT NCBTMB (Massage Therapist)
- Rebecca L. Lawrence, MSW MPH (Research Assistant)
- Gheorghe Doros PhD (Biostatistician)