The Cancer Pain Service has evolved into a very significant role of the UC Davis Center for Pain Medicine. This service is under the direction of David Copenhaver, M.D., and provides outpatient and inpatient consultations on any patient with pain related to cancer. Physicians specially trained in anesthesia, internal medicine, psychiatry, psychology and rehabilitation staff his service.

This service treats both cancer pain and any other symptoms that may contribute to suffering. It is a resource to our entire hospital and consultations can be made from any department from within or outside the UC Davis Health System.

Our Mission

The mission of the Cancer Pain Service is threefold: we offer the most medically advanced clinical services, we train clinicians from all disciplines of healthcare, and we advance effective analgesia for patients with cancer though research programs.

Our service provides analgesic therapies for both inpatients and outpatients with malignant pain. Because these are often complex cases with dramatic diagnostic presentations, this service often challenges us to be diagnostically astute, therapeutically diverse, and prompt.

Cancer pain calls upon our widest therapeutic repertoire.  This includes diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, pharmacologic, psychiatric and psychologic interventional modalities, and above all, unyielding compassion.

Continuing Education for Medical Professionals

According to the National Cancer Institute, "Under-treatment of pain and other symptoms of cancer is a serious and neglected public health concern," and "every patient with cancer should have the expectation of pain control as an integral aspect of his/her care throughout the course of the disease. This presents us with an opportunity to remedy the  lack of knowledge by clinicians about effective assessment and management and negative attitudes of clinicians toward treating pain. We not only provide clinical services to patients referred through the UC Davis Health System, but also offer consultations and training seminars to all types of physicians in the community.

Furthermore, this service offers continuing education for attending faculty and staff throughout the UC Davis Medical Center and outlying hospitals. The Cancer Pain Service conducts a weekly multidisciplinary case conference directed by faculty and Pain Fellows. This conference is open to the entire UC Davis professional community and takes place on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mureen Darrington (Pain Fellowship and Education Coordinator) at 916-734-6824.

The UC Davis Division of Pain Medicine has launched this site which is also reachable through the UC Davis Department of Anesthesiology home page. This site includes a new Internet journal entitled "Cancer Pain Reviews".  This site, written by our Pain Management Fellows  provides reviews of current oncology pain literature.

Cancer Pain & Supportive Care Nurse Navigation

UC Davis Division of Pain Medicine employs a dedicated staff of Registered Nurses and Medical Assistants who work to support the mission of the Cancer Pain Service. Nurses work directly with patients and clinicians through all phases of care once you are referred to the service.  

Registered Nurses are an integral part of the care team. They work to provide culturally sensitive and inclusive care to every patient. Many of our nurses are board certified in Pain Management through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.  

Nurses are proud to deliver evidence-based nursing care that upholds the highest standards of excellence and is rooted in compassion. Some nursing duties include but are not limited to providing direct care during therapeutic procedures, identifying individual patient needs, advocating on behalf of patients, communicating across healthcare disciplines, performing telephone triage, and supporting safe medication management. 

Our nursing staff also supports and participates in clinician training as well as cancer pain research.

Further Information

David Copenhaver, MD, Division Chief
Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine