Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Cancer Care

Santa Clara Medical Center

News & Events

Dr. Pan and Dr. Lee's Blog

Introducing the Psychiatric Oncology Program

Apr 01, 2011

Living with a diagnosis of cancer is often associated with many aspects of stress that can impact one's life and even work. It can cause anxiety, sadness, anger, grief and other emotions and sometimes lead to disruptions of daily activities, relationships, and even depression.

A strong social support team is very helpful especially for people who live with cancer. Sometimes, a touch of medication for someone with depression or anxiety may be quite helpful as well.

To facilitate the care for our patients who may benefit from a psychiatric evaluation for their underlying anxiety, depression or other conditions, and possibly a medication intervention, Dr. Perry Maliuanag, psychiatrist at Santa Clara Medical Center, Dr. Brian Missett, chief of the Department of Radiation Oncology, Christy McCulloch, social worker at the Cancer Treatment Center, and Dr. Anita Lee at Radiation Oncology have put together a program called “Psychiatric Oncology Services”.

Psychiatric Oncology Services is a newly established clinic stationed at the Cancer Treatment Center (CTC). Dr. Maliuanag, typically provides services through the Santa Clara Adult Psychiatry Department on Tantau, attends this clinic weekly on most Thursdays of the month. Christy McCulloch coordinates this clinic and performs initial evaluation of patients who are referred to this clinic. Christy will then arrange an appointment for each patient to see Dr. Maliuanag on a Thursday at the Cancer Treatment Center.

Dr. Maliuanag, who initiated the Psychiatic Oncology Program in our medical center explains that, “Psychiatric Oncology, as a subspecialty, addresses the two major psychological dimensions of cancer: the psychological responses of patients to cancer at all stages of the disease, and that of their families and caretakers; and the psychological, behavioral and social factors that may influence the disease process.” Dr. Perry Maliuanag is also board certified in the subspecialty of Psychosomatic Medicine.

When asked, “how do you envision this program would benefit our patients?” Dr. Maliuanag replied, “a cancer diagnosis exerts great burden on patients. Our Psychiatric Oncology program is aimed at supporting patients who are living with a life-threatening illness, along with their families, with a multidisciplinary approach that engages mental health services, social work, palliative care and hospice. The goals are to enhance the quality of life and the sense of well-being of patient, and to relieve suffering in all its dimensions throughout illness, survivorship, and bereavement.”

Christy McCulloch reports that “patients feel this is a valuable service to them, as emotional issues often come into play where cancer is concerned. Patients have also reported enjoying working with Dr. Maliuanag, who has provided them with sound guidance regarding psychiatric medications. Moreover, patients seem to prefer accessing this service in an Oncology clinic that they are familiar with or presently attending. This setting provides convenience and the care a patient can obtain without physically visiting a psychiatry department that some patients often try to avoid.”

We hope this program continues to be a valuable service for our patients who are bravely fighting against cancer every day.

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