Back to Top Complex Cancer Pain Clinic - The Ottawa Hospital Website scanner for suspicious and malicious URLs



Pain can cause significant distress for individuals with cancer. Cancer pain is often complex, due to the nature of the disease itself, and as a result of its treatment, whether from surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. For the majority of patients, cancer pain can be managed with oral medication.  However, 10-15% of individuals with pain from cancer suffer poor pain control despite medication and the best efforts of their health-care team, both physicians and nurses.

In the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Program, an inter-professional collaboration between the departments of Anesthesiology and Palliative Care has led to the development of the Complex Cancer Pain Clinic whose goal is to improve pain management for this group of individuals.

Our Team

We are an inter-professional group of health-care providers from the departments of Anesthesiology and Palliative Care who provide care for individuals with pain that has not responded to treatment according to usual guidelines (e.g. World Health Organization Analgesic Ladder).

Medical Leads: Dr. Catherine Smyth and Dr. Edward Fitzgibbon

Our Services

Cancer patients with refractory pain control are referred to the Complex Cancer Pain Clinic by a physician. Individuals coming to the Complex Cancer Pain Clinic will be assessed by an inter-professional group including an Anesthesiologist specializing in pain management, a Palliative Care physician and a Palliative Care Nurse Specialist. The clinic provides on site multi-disciplinary assessment, anesthetic interventions, and the necessary monitoring required to ensure safety as well as improved pain management. Patients are seen as outpatients or inpatients depending on individual needs and circumstances. Many patients have been managed in the outpatient setting alone, thereby avoiding hospital admissions. Continued follow up for patients may be done in the Complex Cancer Pain Clinic or by either the outpatient or the inpatient Supportive or Palliative Care team as deemed necessary.

Our Clinic

The Complex Cancer Pain Clinic is located within The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) Pain Clinic.  It is a state of the art 4,500 square foot facility that was designed for multi-disciplinary case conferences.  It is centrally located off of the main lobby of the Critical Care Wing at TOH General Campus.  It is conveniently located next to TOH Cancer Centre.  (Photos by Dr. Rengarajan J.)

Complex Cancer Pain Clinic
Complex Cancer Pain Clinic

Making an Appointment

Any cancer patient with pain that has not responded to treatment in either the inpatient or outpatient setting can be referred to the Complex Cancer Pain Clinic. All referrals must be signed by a physician.

To make a referral please fax a general referral form to TOH Pain Clinic at the General Campus  (613) 739-6296.

Please include:

  • a completed Brief Pain Inventory
  • a completed Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS)
  • a detailed history including cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiation therapy)
  • the individual’s treatment goal (Curative, Palliative or undetermined),
  • the urgency of the consult (i.e. days, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, no urgency)

Contact Us

For further information call the Pain Clinic clerk at:
(613) 737-8949 (reception)
(613) 737-8229 (booking)

Return to all clinics and services

Last updated on: May 15th, 2017