Eliminating Private Insurance; Raising the Smoking Age; HPV Vaccine Recommendation
Candidates in the first Democratic presidential debate spent some time addressing issues related to healthcare access. In point-blank questions, they were asked what they might do in support of Medicare for All, especially whether they’d be in favor of eliminating private insurance companies. Many were supportive of the overarching legislation, some were wary of eliminating insurance companies outright, and others flat out opposed it.
Congress Tackles Youth Smoking; Pelosi Drug Pricing; Biden's Cancer Commitment
Healthcare advocates assembled in the U.S. Congress to hear from panelists about the national epidemic of youth smoking. From those conversations, a common theme emerged: many believe that the rise in youth vaping and smoking is directly related to marketing and sales tactics by large tobacco manufacturers.
Innovative Technology Improves Provider Education on Distress Management for Cancer Survivors
Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and cognitive difficulties are just some mental health concerns that can affect cancer survivors: those living with, through, and beyond a cancer diagnosis. As many as three out of every four cancer survivors can experience acute or chronic symptoms of psychological distress, which can negatively affect quality of life, engagement in follow-up care, and health outcomes.
Changing Leadership Won’t Affect FDA’s Role in Public Health, Awareness, and Prevention
Nestled in the sleepy suburbs of Washington, DC, lies an influential agency that continues to have a growing impact on every American’s life. In fact, public opinion surveys indicate that the agency enjoys a broad range of support in the federal government and across the country in its work protecting people. Seen almost daily on the evening news, FDA encompasses a vast network of public health priorities important to many people’s daily lives.
Everyone Means Me, Everyone Includes You: Improving the Practice of Cancer Screening
As we reflect on the progress we’ve made to prevent and control cancer and focus on strategies that will help build on those efforts, one thing is certain: We’ve learned a lot about cancer, but we still have much to learn. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits and knowing your family’s history, especially as you get older, can help you lower a patient’s—or nurse’s—chance of getting cancer.
Make Nicotine Nonaddictive to Reduce Tobacco-Related Disease and Death
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, released a statement on March 28, 2019, about FDA’s new efforts to reduce tobacco-related disease and death through greater, far-reaching regulation on the tobacco industry. Coming on the heels of his announced departure from his role as of June 2019, the work would ensure his legacy as a staunch proponent of smoking cessation.
Health Disparities Are a Focus for NIH Cancer Awareness and Prevention Promotions
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) mission is to enhance health and reduce illness throughout the country. Cancer, as the second leading cause of death in the United States, tops the list of diseases on which NIH is focused. Understanding the impact of health disparities, NIH has effectively widened its reach to touch more underserved communities with new prevention efforts.
Providing Expert Testimony in the Virginia State Senate
In early January 2019, I had the opportunity to represent ONS before the Virginia State Senate Finance Committee on the growing epidemic of electronic cigarettes and vaping device use among youth. In Richmond, VA, I delivered testimony about the dangerous health ramifications of this newer trend of tobacco use.
CDC Encourages Screening, Vaccination for HPV to Fight Cervical Cancer
Recent congressional hearings about vaccination have caused a litany of responses from different members of the public, private, and political sectors. Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evidence has shown that human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has led to fewer cases of HPV-related cancers.
Modifying Five Lifestyle Factors Could Change the U.S. Cancer Burden
Tobacco, obesity, alcohol, diet, and physical activity are major risk factors for cancer, yet all are modifiable, according to findings released in a new report from the American Cancer Society. Reducing tobacco use is the highest priority, but interventions for all five risk factors are essential for a comprehensive U.S. cancer control plan.
What Women Need to Know About Preventing Gynecologic Cancers
Not that long ago, women were told to get a Pap test every year. And most of us did, even though it wasn’t always clear why we were being tested. We just did what we were told and thought it was a surefire way to stay healthy. But times and recommendations have changed about what test to have, how often to have it, and the reason to have it.
NIH Office of Disease Prevention Raises Profile
In an open letter to the research and advocacy community, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, announced the Office of Disease Prevention’s (ODP) new strategic plan to “strengthen research through increased coordination and facilitation among NIH institutes, centers, and offices, including leveraging the power of new portfolio analysis tools, ensuring ongoing communications with stakeholders, and building trans-NIH partnerships to address gaps in prevention research.”
CDC Announces National Screen Out Cancer Health Campaign
Targeted to healthcare providers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new public service health campaign to call attention to the importance of regular screenings for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. The Screen Out Cancer campaign is designed to raise awareness to ensure that patients and providers know that prevention begins with knowledge.
President’s Cancer Panel Calls for Renewed Commitment to Vaccinate for HPV
For years, the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) has been recommended to young adult patients to help prevent certain forms of cancer. In a November 2018 report, the President’s Cancer Panel recommended to further the United States’ goal to prevent cancer associated with HPV.
What Is Metformin’s Impact on Pancreatic Cancer Risk?
Metformin is one of the oldest and most reliable pharmacologic treatments for type-2 diabetes and had, in the past, been suggested as a potential pancreatic cancer risk reducer in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Although more recent versions of the guidelines have removed that language, our team was curious about the possible link between metformin and pancreatic cancer risk.
Cancer Prevention: Oncology Nurses Save Lives by Raising Awareness
Despite flashy television campaigns, countless pamphlets and brochures, and seemingly constant reminders, people are still unaware of important cancer prevention information. The World Health Organization estimated that 30%–50% of all cancer cases are preventable. But between modifiable behaviors, hereditary and genetic risks, infectious agents, and more, the general public finds itself mostly unprepared to tackle the cancer prevention conversation.
HPV 9-Valent Vaccine Approved for People Aged 27–45
In October 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the approved use of the human papillomavirus (HPV) 9-valent vaccine to include women and men aged 27–45 years. Previously, the vaccine had been approved for males and females aged 9–26 years, but the expanded approval was granted after the application had undergone priority review.
Despite Low Disease Recurrence, Long-Term AML Survivors Require Preventative Care
Many patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) achieve complete remission (CR) after induction chemotherapy; however, just 30% of patients maintain CR for three years or longer. Long-term outcomes for those who do maintain CR are largely unknown. Results from a new study have shown that new medical problems frequently occur, and patients require routine surveillance and preventative measures. Catherine Kendall Major, BS, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Lakeland, TN, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting on December 3, 2018.
CDC Spreads Breast Cancer Awareness
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent out a reminder to healthcare providers to share education and resources with their patients about breast cancer screening, detection, and prevention. CDC included a list for providers to highlight:
- Breast cancer risk factors
- Knowing what to do to lower those risks
- When to get regular breast cancer screenings
How Patients Can Benefit From Hereditary Cancer Support
My story, like many of your patients, is unfortunately not that uncommon: I’m a motherless daughter. I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 26 years old; she lost her mother to the disease before she graduated high school. The BRCA1 mutation has been passed down in my family, and I, too, carry the mutation. Even though it was expected, I was devastated and desperately looking for resources to help manage my cancer risk. It was scary not knowing where to turn. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone.
“It Prevents Cancer” May Be Key to HPV Vaccine Communication
In 2016, only 43% of U.S. adolescents had received routine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations. Findings from a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention indicate that the type of strategy providers use to communicate the need for the vaccine may influence parents’ choices.
Recommended Surveillance Periods May Be Incorrect for Gynecologic Cancers
Standardized surveillance recommendations may be too short for patients with ovarian cancer and too long for other gynecologic cancers, according to findings from a study presented at the 2018 Society of Gynecologic Oncology Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer.
FDA Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Triggers ONS Response to Reduce Nicotine, Ban Flavors, and Regulate Premium Cigars
In response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on setting a tobacco standard for nicotine levels in combusted cigarettes, ONS submitted comments urging the agency to lower nicotine levels in combusted cigarettes and all tobacco products. Specifically, ONS recommended lowering the level of nicotine to a maximum of 0.4 mg or lower and that the ratio of tar to nicotine stay around 1 to reduce addiction. ONS pointed out that even lower levels of nicotine are harmful to health. ONS also cautioned the agency about the harm of additives in tobacco, including sugar, that counteract reduced nicotine levels.
How Oncology Nurses Can Support Childhood Cancer Survivors
More than 13,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States. Because treatment options continue to improve, more than 80% of those children will survive at least five years after their diagnosis.
Small Steps Toward Sun Safety Can Make a Big Difference
I haven’t always been convinced of the importance of sun safety. In my younger years, I got more sunburns than I’d like to admit in an attempt to develop a tan. In college, I spent afternoons studying outside on a sunny quad with nothing more than shorts and a tank top for sun protection.
GOP Steers Away From Obamacare Repeal, Replace; Is Cigarette Prohibition on the Horizon?; Barbara Bush’s End-of-Life Decision Makes Waves
After a flurry of proposed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare—the unofficial name for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)— the GOP has shifted its focus to other policy issues. In fact, many Republican senators and congressional representatives have removed any mention of the healthcare law from their websites. With the 2018 midterm elections approaching, GOP lawmakers are seemingly breaking with the Trump administration’s stance on the healthcare law, recognizing that their constituents may be in favor of the ACA’s many protections.
Cancer Prevention and Awareness Starts With Oncology Nurses
April is designated as National Cancer Control Month in the United States. It’s a federally endorsed observation, annually encouraged by a proclamation from the president. April is dedicated to raising awareness for cancer prevention and treatment throughout the country. Approved through a joint resolution by Congress in 1938, the yearly presidential announcement serves as a reminder to all Americans that awareness of the factors that cause or prevent cancer are crucial to the public health.
Prevent Colorectal Cancer Through Screening
Of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading killer in the United States. In 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 139,992 people in the United States were diagnosed with CRC and 51,651 people died from it. Oncology nurses know that screening tests allow for healthcare providers to remove polyps before they become cancer or identify CRC in its earliest, most treatable stages. Clearly, screening is key to preventing CRC, most insurance plans cover screening, and patients now have more screening test options than ever. So why is CRC still so common? Why do people we know and care about still get this disease?
CDC Offers Insight on Common Cancer Questions
To ensure more Americans understand the public health implications of cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking an active role in creating awareness activities. By posting commonly asked questions, the CDC hopes to demystify cancer and its treatment to the uninitiated, while also helping survivors and caregivers better comprehend the cancer journey.
NCI Updates Cancer Trends Progress Report
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has proactively shared new information and trends with the general public. Through its Cancer Trends Progress Report, NCI provides descriptions of research and data to help review past experiences and assist the agency in planning for future research funding.
CDC Promotes World Cancer Day 2018
On February 4, 2018, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) annual World Cancer Day will aim to raise cancer awareness and support in a unified, global effort. The CDC’s efforts focus on cancer research and prevention, as well as improving services to patients with cancer, understanding and sharing common sentiments related to cancer, and mobilizing the global community against the disease.
National Roundtable Will Work to Increase HPV Vaccination
The American Cancer Society has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote public awareness and adoption for the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. The joint initiative, dubbed the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable, brings together public, private, and voluntary experts to raise awareness of the benefits of the vaccine in an effort to decrease incidence and mortality rates associated with HPV cancers.
ASCO Links Alcohol to Increased Risk for Several Cancers
In a November 2017 special statement, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) cited evidence that alcohol consumption directly increases the risk for oropharyngeal and larynx cancer, esophageal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Although heavy drinking increases risk the most, ASCO noted that even modest consumption puts people at higher risk for these and other cancers. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified alcohol as a group I carcinogen because it causes cancer in humans.
Commissioner Gottlieb Comments on Nicotine Regulation
In May 2017, Scott Gottlieb, MD, was named as the newest U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. He’s since shown a commitment to regulating tobacco and nicotine delivery systems—such as e-cigarettes—especially when it comes to children. In one of his public forums, Gottlieb spoke about the FDA’s commitment to continued oversight and regulation of these products and their distribution, a stance that’s drawn support from the medical community.
Why Breast Cancer Awareness Is Important All Year
As Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins this week, we’ll start seeing pink awareness efforts everywhere. Pink products will line the shelves at stores, awareness and fundraising ads will showcase celebrities wearing pink ribbons, and high school, collegiate, and even professional athletes will adorn their uniforms with pink, some even articulating a specific person or family member affected by breast cancer for whom they’re dedicating their athletic efforts.
Cancer Prevention Through Community-Based Programs
Preventing a cancer diagnosis is the most surefire way to survive it. However, the public and news media communicate more about emerging treatments and newly approved oncology drugs and less about ways people can take steps to prevent cancer before it starts. Oncology nurses have a role and obligation to spread public health education and an attention to disease prevention, so many Americans change risky habits that would otherwise lead to future cancer diagnoses.
Supporting Cancer Prevention Through Resources and Education
Estimates suggest that 30% of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes and vaccinations. We know that tobacco accounts for 90% of all lung cancers and contributes to increased risk for head and neck cancers. It’s also well known that sun exposure is associated with increased incidence of basal and squamous cell skin cancers, as well as the most dangerous skin cancer, melanoma.
The Importance of HPV Vaccination for Your Patients
August marks the beginning of National Immunization Awareness Month, which is an annual observance to promote awareness of the importance of vaccination for individuals of all ages. It’s a great time for nurses to check with their patients and make sure they’re up to date on the recommended vaccines.
Managing VTE in Patients With Cancer
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a potentially life-threatening event characterized by clots that form in the veins, and it is the second-leading cause of death for patients diagnosed with cancer. VTE affects up to 10% of the cancer population, making it essential for oncology providers to understand the associated risk factors and preventative measures. In addition, prompt recognition and treatment for VTE becomes crucial to patient care.
Raise Awareness in July for Ultraviolet Safety and Skin Cancer Risk
With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the sunny weather. But are you protecting yourself from potential risks? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. The goal is to spread the word about how important it is to protect everyone’s skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. This presents a teaching opportunity for oncology nurses and their patients—not just during July but all year long.
Encourage Malignant Melanoma Awareness in May
As Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, May is the perfect time to encourage people to examine their skin and seek medical assistance if they recognize signs of a melanoma. Early detection and prompt treatment is associated with a much higher survival rate for skin cancer diagnoses.
Revised USPSTF Draft Guidelines Recommend Individual Prostate Cancer Screening Decisions
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued new draft revisions for prostate cancer screening guidelines. In the draft, the USPSTF has changed its previous stance on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening tests for men aged 55–69. The drafted guidelines now recommend PSA screening tests for men aged 55–69 based on individual assessment. The USPSTF has upgraded its recommendation from D to C, encouraging physicians to discuss with their patients whether PSA testing is right for them. The USPSTF still recommends against PSA screening tests in patients aged 70 or older.
Physical Activity Benefits Patients and Nurses Throughout Life
My husband is a gerontologist. My oldest daughter is an RN working with acutely ill elderly patients at a busy academic medical center. They both know that living to 90 or 100 years old is becoming the norm. They’ll also tell you that the habits formed throughout a lifetime can make a big difference in the quality of life as one gets older.
HPV Vaccines Fight Against Oral Cancers and More
Because April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to understand the link between human papillomavirus (HPV) and oropharyngeal cancers. This form of oral cancer occurs in the middle part of the throat, soft palate, base of the tongue, and tonsils. HPV contributes to more than 70% of all oropharyngeal cancers, with more than half of these being related to HPV type 16. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that approximately 9,000 new cases of oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed annually and are typically four times more common in men than women.
GOP Unable to Secure Support for AHCA; Senators Introduce Women’s Health Bill; Americans Worried About Insurance Access, Coverage
After the GOP spent weeks lobbying for support, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) informed President Trump on March 24 that the replacement healthcare proposal, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), did not have enough support in the House of Representatives. The bill was pulled from voting, which ensured that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be in place for the foreseeable future. The Republican party failed to garner enough support for the bill, with some moderates fearing it would strand many without access to health care, whereas more conservative factions believed the AHCA didn’t dismantle enough portions of the ACA.