Children with cancer may experience pain and distress from various sources. Diagnostic and treatment procedures bring about acute pain, but fortunately, this is controlled fairly well in most settings. However, pain associated with side effects from treatment, and pain associated with disease itself remains more problematic. The latter, pain from the disease itself, is often most difficult among children with late stages of cancer.

The major goal of research funded by the Healing Heart Foundation is to address this problem. The intent is to standardize approaches to pain and palliative care so that suffering is minimized and quality of life, even at the end of life, is improved. This will begin with a collaboration of key institutions in the United States and Canada. Together these pediatric cancer centers will demonstrate the validity of the approach. After this, the aim is to assure that pain and palliative care strategies will be included in all children's cancer protocols especially those that involve late stage disease. In this way, research data will be generated in hundreds of hospitals throughout North America and improved pain management will become standard practice.

Gary Walco, PhD.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Director, David Center for Children's Pain and Palliative Care

Hackensack University Medical Center


In September in San Diego we are doing a Spirituality Study on how children with chronic and critical illness deal with the pain and what they believe in to help them get through the difficult times. For more information, please call or contact us.