An anesthesiologist is a physician who administers medications or who employs other methods to help patients control and manage awareness of pain. Anesthesiologists at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) nationwide are an essential part of the oncology care team. This talented group of clinicians helps cancer patients endure physical discomfort or anxiety during the perioperative period—before, during or after a surgical or other procedure. CTCA® anesthesiologists in or around Chicago, Phoenix, Tulsa, Atlanta and Philadelphia may conduct tests during the initial preoperative period. They routinely review the patient’s medical history; inquire about reactions or allergies to drugs, prescriptions or over-the-counter medications the patient has taken recently; and ask about other general health conditions, lifestyle choices and an individual’s pain threshold. During the procedure, anesthesiologists monitor vital signs, consciousness and pain, making adjustments to anesthesia medications when applicable. They continue to oversee patients for a certain period after surgery.
CTCA anesthesiologists administer a number of medications during cancer-related surgeries and procedures to manage pain and consciousness. Those methods include:
In oncology, local anesthesia is typically used during biopsies to numb a specific area, to prepare for the extraction of tissue samples that may be essential to diagnosing the presence or stage of cancer. Local anesthesia, most often administered via a needle, is one way to reduce pain without affecting consciousness.
Regional anesthesia relieves larger areas of pain during surgery or cancer-related procedures. One type of regional anesthesia, known as peripheral nerve block regional anesthesia, targets pain in the hands, legs, feet or arms. Spinal or epidural anesthesia can be used to manage pain in other areas like the pelvis, rectum or abdomen. Anesthesiologists at CTCA may administer regional anesthesia through a single injection or opt for a continuous pain medication drip. Patients remain conscious while under regional anesthesia, but they can take other medications to encourage sleep and relaxation during surgery or recovery.
General anesthesia is used to keep patients in a state of unconsciousness during a major procedure, such as a cancer-related surgery. Anesthesiologists may administer general anesthesia intravenously or via a face mask. Patients are monitored closely during and after the procedure, and they may not completely recover for up to a day after general anesthesia.