Psychosocial Oncology

Psychosocial care is often integral to cancer treatment. We are a group of highly committed psychiatrists and psychologists with expertise in diagnosis and treatment of the emotional difficulties and psychiatric illnesses that can arise in the context of cancer treatment. We partner with patients, oncologists, nurses, social workers, and other Dana-Farber/Brigham staff to develop comprehensive, individualized treatment plans ranging from the provision of self-help materials to psychotherapy and medications.

This important area of medical psychiatry is led by William Pirl, MD, MPH, Vice Chair for Psychosocial Oncology at the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center and Ilana Braun, MD, Chief of the Psychosocial Oncology Service. The program is at the forefront of the clinical, educational and research aspects of cancer psychiatry and palliative care.

Contact Information

  • To schedule or cancel an outpatient appointment (for a Dana-Farber patient), please call our office at (617) 632-6181.
  • To reach your psychiatrist, (8:30am–5pm, Monday-Friday), please call (617) 632-6181
  • To request an inpatient consultation, please call the BWH Department of Psychiatry at (617) 732-6701.
  • For emergencies and night/weekend coverage, please call (617) 732-5700 pager #13088 with urgent concerns or to speak with the psychiatrist covering for your Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center psychiatrist during nights and weekends (weekdays 6pm–8am and weekends, from Friday 6pm to Monday 8am).
  • To renew a prescription please call the office at (617) 632-6181. Kindly leave a voicemail message that includes the name of your psychiatrist, medication, dose, and frequency of administration, as well as the telephone number of your pharmacy.

Family Members

Cancer can affect not just the patient, but the whole family. If it would be helpful to bring a family member to your visit, feel free.


Palliative Care Program

The Palliative Care Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital helps patients (and their families) live as well as possible while facing a serious or life-threatening illness. Palliative care is comprehensive, specialized, interdisciplinary care, focusing on optimizing quality of life and relieving suffering. Palliative care can be helpful through all stages of a serious illness. Early on, it can help make medical treatments more tolerable; at later stages, it can reduce suffering, help patients carry on with daily life, assist in planning for future medical care, and provide support for living with a life-threatening illness.

Palliative care focuses on addressing the physical, psychological, relational, and spiritual challenges faced by patients and their families. The palliative care team involves physicians (including psychiatrists), nurses, social workers, physician assistants, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, and bereavement experts, who work together to provide comfort, preserve dignity, and help achieve open communication with family and clinicians.

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