The research of Cindy Tofthagen, Ph.D., is focused on management of cancer treatment-related symptoms. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapies have side effects that create significant physical, emotional and financial burdens for patients and their families. The goal of Dr. Tofthagen's research is to find effective ways to prevent or treat these side effects as well as to help patients better manage side effects at home.
- Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Tofthagen's research tests interventions to improve balance, reduce falls and control symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, a long-term side effect of many common chemotherapy drugs.
- Psychological distress associated with cancer. Because a cancer diagnosis is associated with uncertainty, anxiety, depression, fear and other negative emotions that influence health, Dr. Tofthagen's team develops and tests integrative and psychoeducational interventions to alleviate this distress.
- Cancer treatment-related pain. Pain such as bone pain caused by granulocyte colony stimulating factors, or myalgias and arthralgias caused by aromatase inhibitors and taxanes are often difficult to control and decrease quality of life. Dr. Tofthagen and her research team investigate risk factors and treatment options to prevent or alleviate pain related to cancer treatment.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Tofthagen's background as an oncology nurse guides her research, which focuses on areas of high concern to patients and on symptoms for which there is a limited evidence base to support successful treatment. By focusing on areas in which there are great needs, her research team hopes to offer effective solutions to important clinical problems.
- Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, 2015-present
- Fellow, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 2013-present
- Recipient, Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, University of South Florida College of Nursing, 2014