Symptom Management Toolkit for Caregivers of Cancer Patients




Cancer patients have numerous symptoms, both from the cancer itself and from the side effects of its treatments. Since many cancer treatments are delivered as outpatient procedures or via oral medicines, cancer patients and their caregivers often are dealing with symptoms from treatment and/or disease progression at home. They have significant needs for information regarding diagnosis and treatment, help with symptom management, assistance with communication and coordination of care, and support for surveillance and prevention of further problems.


Uncontrolled symptoms can delay cancer treatment, result in additional doctor or ER visits, and contribute to days lost from work. Active monitoring can allow patients and their caregivers to identify and address symptoms earlier and at a time when intervention can resolve or control symptoms, thereby avoiding treatment delays.


Description of Technology


Michigan State University’s Symptom Management Toolkit for Caregivers of Cancer Patients provides comprehensive information about common symptoms experienced during cancer treatment to help the caregiver better assist and care for the person battling cancer. Written at an eight-grade reading level, the toolkit also contains helpful information related to difficulties caregivers often incur, such as role strain, asking for help, anger, anxiety, time management, nutrition, and disturbed sleep. The book provides evidence-based information to help caregivers assist the cancer patient (even those who live at a distance), communicate with the patient, serve as a reference for other family members and healthcare providers, and help patients care for themselves during this stressful period.


Key Benefits

  • Patient satisfaction: Surveys have shown an overwhelmingly positive response to the Symptom Management Toolkit.
  • Improved patient outcomes: Clinical trials have shown positive results in terms of the overall well being of cancer patients. Patients in the studies reported statistically significant improvement in symptom severity and number of overall symptoms.
  • Reduces health system costs: The book provides education for patients and caregivers, which helps reduce doctor and ER visits.
  • Evidence-based: Information is practical, yet based on proven data.
  • Companion products: In addition to a book for caregivers, a book for cancer patients has been developed as well as an automated voice response system (AVR).
  • Multiple delivery methods: The toolkit could be delivered as a bound book, e-book, and/or website.




Books like the Symptom Management Toolkit are commonly provided by oncology practices, and a nurse typically will review the materials with the patient at the doctor’s office. Potential markets for the book include:

  • Medical oncology offices
  • Clinical trial companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Insurance companies and HMOs
  • Publishing companies: options for e-book, PDF, or print on demand


Patent Status


No Patents




Barbara Given, Charles Given, Cindy Majeske, Emily Miezio


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Jody Lancia
Technology Manager
Michigan State University