IACAN Presents Symptom, Pain and Sleep Management


HOUSTON: One of the major goals of IACAN is to bring cancer awareness and prevention to the public through educational seminars. One such seminar titled “Symptom management, Pain and Sleep Management” was presented on Sunday, June 7, at India House. Dr. V.K. Dorai, President of IACAN, welcomed everyone. He briefly talked about various services, such as patient navigation, organizing survivor network to promote fellowship and support, and bone marrow registrations, to name a few that are provided by IACAN.


Alpa Shah, Treasurer of Indo American Charity Foundation, presented their annual support check to IACAN.  Alpa mentioned that IACF is proud to support IACAN and its services that benefit the Indian American community.

Kumari Susarla, Vice president of IACAN, was the moderator and introduced each of the speakers. Dr. Sandra Gomez, System Director of Supportive Medicine at Memorial Hermann Physician Network presented first. Dr. Gomez gave an informative talk on Symptom Management. A patient may present one or more symptoms such as pain, nausea, shortness of breath, sleep, depression, etc. which may affect the outcomes of treatment. The Supportive Medicine specialists have the expertise to communicate clearly and compassionately with the patient and treat one or more of the symptoms in in-patient or in out-patient setting. They make house call too. Most insurance plans cover Supportive Medicine services. Dr. Gomez mentioned that the Supportive Medicine team should be involved from the beginning in developing a patient’s treatment.


Dr. Dhanalakshmi Koyyalagunta, Professor of Pain Medicine at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, mentioned that there are many sources of pain and degrees of pain. In cancer patients, surgery, chemo therapy and radiation therapy cause pain. Some of the medications have severe side effects that need to be addressed as well. She emphasized that the treatment of pain needs to be personalized, and the medication given needs to be custom fit to each patient’s needs.

Dr. Diwakar Balachandran, MD, DABSM, Associate Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, and Medical Director at Sleep Center, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center presented a very interesting and educational talk about sleep management. He informed that our body has a circadian rhythm that guides us in our sleep and waking cycle. To have a good night sleep it is essential not to use our iPads, iPods or computers before we go to sleep, since the blue green light affects the production of certain chemicals in our brain that signals our body to fall asleep. Soothing meditation music, yoga and exercise helps us to fall asleep and stay asleep. He emphasized that we should go to bed at a fixed time each night and wake up at a fixed time each morning.

The presentations were followed by a question and answer session. The audience had many questions for all the speakers. Meena Agrawal, Treasurer of IACAN, gave the vote of thanks. Each speaker was presented a token of appreciation.

For further details contact iacannetwork@gmail.com or visit www.iacannetwork.org or call  713-370-3489.