Symptom Management

Doctor speaking with patient

Many people living with cancer struggle with the physical and emotional effects of their illness and treatment. Regardless of where they are in their cancer journey, patients sometimes need help to manage their pain, nausea, anxiety or other symptoms. The Ontario Cancer Symptom Management Collaborative was established to improve the quality and consistency of managing cancer patient’s symptoms. The Collaborative involves all Regional Cancer Programs in promoting earlier identification, documentation and communication of patients’ symptoms. This improvement initiative leads to better symptom management and collaborative care planning, which improves the patient experience across the cancer journey.

Symptom Management Guides

Symptom Management Guides help healthcare professionals assess and appropriately manage a patient's cancer-related symptoms. 

Visit the Cancer Care Ontario website to access guidelines and advice regarding how to manage the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Dyspnea
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Delirium
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Bowel care
  • Oral care
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Bone Health 
  • Bowel Function
  • Exercise
  • Hormonal symptoms
  • Hand-foot syndrome
  • Low platelet count
  • Sexual Health 
  • Urinary problems

Interactive Symptom Assessment and Collection tool (ISAAC)

Commonly referred to as ISAAC, Cancer Care Ontario's Interactive Symptom Assessment and Collection tool allows patients to assess and monitor their symptoms through an online computer program. ISAAC kiosks are located at several hospital sites throughout the region, including London Regional Cancer Program, Stratford, St. Thomas, Wingham, and Woodstock. Plans are in place to implement the kiosks in Owen Sound in the near future. Two symptom questionnaires are available through ISAAC:

  • Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) addresses nine common symptoms including pain, nausea and anxiety.
  • Patient-Reported Functional Status (PRFS) tool asks patients to use a five-point scale to indicate how well they are functioning and their current activity levels.

You can now use the ISAAC tool from your home or device to log information on your symptoms before your appointment. This information will be sent directly to your healthcare provider for discussion and review at your appointment. 

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