Gretchen Kimmick, MD, MS: New Developments In Symptom Management

Dr. Gretchen Kimmick sits down with Selma Schimmel in The Group Room to discuss an educational session she moderated focusing on new developments in symptom management.

This interview was filmed at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago 2013.

Gretchen Kimmick, MD, MS is an Associate Professor, Duke University School Of Medicine and a Breast Medical Oncologist.

Advocacy and educational support provided at ASCO 2013, in part, by:

TGR ASCO 2013 SponsorVIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Selma Schimmel, Founder & CEO, Vital Options International:

This is Selma Schimmel and you are looking live at the great city of Chicago which is once again playing host to the American Society of Clinical Oncology: ASCO.  This is ASCO’s 49th annual meeting and this year’s theme could not be more appropriate, Building Bridges to Conquer Cancer.  More than 30,000 of the world’s foremost cancer specialists are here and so is The Group Room making our 15th appearance at ASCO, and one of our very best.  Joining me now is Dr. Gretchen Kimmick- Associate Professor at Duke University School of Medicine and a breast medical oncologist.  Welcome back.

Gretchen Kimmick, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Duke University School of Medicine:

Oh thank you, it’s always nice to be here.

Selma Schimmel:

This year you got to moderate an educational session.

Gretchen Kimmick, MD, MS:

Right, for patient and survivor care track.  And we were talking about new developments in management of symptoms that patients commonly experience, like pain, and hot flashes, and depression, problems sleeping, just a kind of a smattering of things we tried to piece together.

Selma Schimmel:

What are some of the reasons patients have and tell you about when they can’t sleep?

Gretchen Kimmick, MD, MS:

When treating breast cancer patients I often deal with the issue of hot flashes, and I think that sleep and hot flashes kind of go together.  People wake up with hot flashes and if they sleep better they have less hot flashes.  If they have less hot flashes it’s probably because they’re sleeping better and they’re less stressed.

Selma Schimmel:

What can you share about hot flashes in general?

Gretchen Kimmick, MD, MS:

I think that there’s a lot of new developments in hot flashes going on.  And doctor [INAUDIBLE] really put a wonderful presentation together to talk about that.  There are several antidepressants that are out there for prescriptions.  There are some of the new information on pre-gestational agents that can be used either intermittently or at low doses that probably don’t effect cancer risk, that are maybe very, very helpful.  But I always tell people to try the things that are not medications first. Exercise helps and exercise also helps rest.  Yoga has been shown to help and that probably also helps us sleep better at night.

Decreasing anxiety will decrease hot flashes, and improving the sleep quality helps improve the anxiety, and overall wellbeing probably helps decrease hot flashes.  So there are a lot of things intertwined.

Selma Schimmel:

Is there anything else at the session that really pops out for you?

Gretchen Kimmick, MD, MS:

We talked about pain and Dr. Dee had a great summary in managing constipation and paying attention to constipation for people who are on narcotic analgesics get.  She talked about different types of cathartics that help people avoid getting terribly constipated and an injection that people can take up to every other day to help decrease problems with constipation.

Fertility- things to help improve fertility after cancer treatments and the fact that we now can actually preserve eggs instead of embryos so that we don’t have to have fertilized eggs and two people hooked to the embryo instead of the woman’s egg.  And, remembering to talk to men, or young men, who are going through cancer treatments about sperm banking because it turns out that we forget to do that a lot.  We still have to remember to do that, remind medical teams to not only treat the cancer but think about what their life is going to be like after the cancer and the hopes that we all have for family.

We talked about lymphedema; that was exciting.  Dr. Soren is in Pittsburgh and he does surgical management for lymphedema.  Now, I don’t think that that is widely available but if his results are as successful as he says they are maybe it will be for people who have severe lymphedema.  So, that’s exciting.

Selma Schimmel:

Dr. Gretchen Kimmick- Associate Professor at Duke University School of Medicine and a breast medical oncologist.

Gretchen Kimmick, MD, MS:

Thank you.

Selma Schimmel:

Thank you.

END OF VIDEO

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