Medicare Covers CAR T; HPV Vaccine Confusion; Officials Target Drug Makers
The decision to allow Medicare to cover the cost of CAR T-cell therapy—a new and expensive form of immunotherapy—is an important one for patients seeking the treatment, especially after rounds of failed tradition therapies. Educating federal agencies and government representatives about the importance of new treatments like CAR T cells have helped drive coverage decisions, and the patient advocacy community—like ONS’s very own advocates—are to thank.
FDA Takes More Steps Toward Regulating E-Cigarettes
After the U.S. surgeon general’s announcement that youth smoking epidemic was in part a result of vaping and tobacco companies’ marketing and advertising of flavored products, federal agencies began looking for ways to address the growing problem. The ease at which elementary and high school students can access vaping mechanisms was a battle cry for former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who was an outspoken advocate for regulating and penalizing companies that targeted marketing efforts at young Americans.
Nurses Offer Wellness Checks to Congressional Staffers
In June 2019, in honor of Men’s Health Month, a group of Georgetown nurses, oncology specialists, and professionals from other concentrations volunteered for ONS at the annual Men’s Health Network Congressional Health Screening on Capitol Hill. It was an experience that I will never forget. To be in the offices of the U.S. Congress and to meet elected officials and their staff was incredible, but being able to do what nurses do best—act as the most trusted healthcare professional for patients—was wonderful.
High Fitness Linked to Lower Risk and Mortality in Lung and Colorectal Cancers
Adults with the highest cardiorespiratory fitness levels have a reduced risk for lung and colorectal cancer—and a lower risk of death if they do develop the cancers, according to findings from a study published in Cancer.
CDC Highlights E-Cigarettes’ Dangers
The advent of e-cigarettes and vaping mechanisms has shifted the dynamic of underage tobacco use for the first time in more than a decade. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general declared the situation a national epidemic. Known as e-cigs, vapes, e-hookah, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), the mechanisms look similar to USB flash drives, pens, and other items not typically associated with tobacco consumption.
Bipartisan Support in Congress for Raising the Tobacco Age to 21 Nationwide
Two U.S. senators from different parties, who hail from states with the largest and most successful tobacco crop, have come together to raise the national smoking age. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) have teamed up to cosponsor the Tobacco-Free Youth Act (S. 1541), a bill that would restrict the marketing, sale, and distribution of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. A similar bill, Tobacco to 21 Act (H.R. 2411), was introduced in the House by Diane Degette (D-CO).
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.
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.
Which of the Following Actions Would Not Decrease Risk for Asbestos-Related Cancers?
A.Use building materials made with asbestos to decrease chances of fire in your home.
B. Test your air for asbestos levels.
C. Maintain proper protective gear while working in environments with potential for asbestos exposure.
D. Check with an asbestos expert to assess your home if it was built before 1975.
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.”
Oncology Nurses Are Vital to Tobacco Control and Smoking Cessation Efforts Worldwide
The World Health Organization indicated that tobacco use is the most preventable cause of cancer worldwide. Globally, more than 7 million people die each year from causes associated with tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. Despite recent trends that show falling rates for U.S.-based smokers, much work still must be done. Oncology nurses around the world can make a difference by engaging in prevention and treatment tactics, working with policymakers, and educating their communities and patients about tobacco control.
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.
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
The Overlooked Link Between Alcohol and Breast Cancer
At a recent college alumni dinner, a friend and wine expert pulled me aside and asked, “Is it true that wine increases the risk of breast cancer?” She knew I worked in the cancer division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so it was a reasonable question. I’ve been at wine tastings she’s hosted, and I needed to be straight.
“Yes,” I said, “the evidence is clear: drinking alcohol of any kind increases breast cancer risk.”
Unexpected Medical Costs; Senate Passes Opioid Bill; FDA E-Cigarette Regulation
The financial toxicity associated with cancer care is becoming a widely known side effect of cancer treatment. Beyond the disease's physical impact, patients are suffering from overwhelming medical costs, high prescription drug prices, and unforeseen, expensive complications. Those issues, often coupled with the inability to work, are leading to many patients quickly depleting their savings or slipping into debt.
“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.
Advocating at the State Level for Tobacco Control and Smoking Cessation
In May 2018, I participated in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS’s) Cancer Action Week in my role as a legislative volunteer for ACS’s Cancer Action Network (CAN). In this role, I advocate on the state level for various key legislative efforts for people with cancer in New Jersey.
In Reversal, Trump Orders Halt to His Family Separation Rule; New York Moves Toward Legal Marijuana With Health Dept. Endorsement; Cigarettes Have to Be Labeled 'Deadly' Now. Here's Why
Recently, immigration policies have come front and center in the news. The issue of separating children from their parents at the border was elevated to a public health issue, as the American Academy of Pediatrics—among other healthcare organizations—decried the Trump administration’s policies, noting the potential for irreparable harm to children. ONS was one of the many provider groups that sent formal letters to the Department of Homeland Security, encouraging change to immigration policies that separate children from their parents.
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.
Childhood Obesity May Be a Factor in Increasing Cancer Rates in Young Adults
Although overall cancer rates are on the decline, 9 of the 20 most common cancers in the United States are increasing more frequently in young adults aged 20–44. And those same 9 cancers are among the 13 cancers that have clear ties to obesity. In a new study published in Obesity, a researcher makes the case for a connection between the two.
Which Is a Breast Cancer Risk Factor?
Test your oncology knowledge with ONS. Which of the following is a risk factor for developing breast cancer?
- Women who are gravida 3 para 2
- Mild to moderate alcohol use
- Absence of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
- Going through menopause prior to age 55
NIH Completes In-Depth Genomic Analysis; Senate Panel Unveils Draft Opioid Bill; Teenagers Struggle to Quit Vaping
Researchers for the PanCancer Atlas, a genomic data set reference tool, recently completed an analysis of molecular and clinical information from more than 10,000 different tumors spanning more than 33 cancer types. The PanCancer Atlas is the result of nearly a decade’s worth of work associated with the Cancer Genome Atlas—a multi-institutional program driven by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The results of the analysis were published as a set of 27 papers.
NIA Promotes Smoking Cessation
In a new message, the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) division introduced a public health campaign concentrating on smoking cessation for senior citizens. The program elaborates on a central theme that says, “No matter your age, quitting smoking improves your health.” The agency lists the benefits of cessation, including the critical health impact that diseases have on those who continue to use tobacco.
Oncology Nurses Play Key Role in Genetics Education, Testing for Patients
Identifying genetically predisposed women with breast cancer who could benefit from risk assessment and genetic counseling is an important competency for oncology nurses. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) reported that fewer than 50% of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer who should have been given formal genetic counseling actually received the appropriate genetic testing.
Oncology Nurses Can Help Patients Understand At-Home Genetic Testing
Direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTCGT) has entered the prime-time stage. It’s difficult to watch TV without seeing ads touting the simplicity of DTCGT and what it can tell you, and it even made Oprah’s 2017 Favorite Things List.
U.S. Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall
In the 2018 release of its annual cancer statistics report, the American Cancer Society announced that U.S. cancer death rates fell for the 24th year in a row. The findings were published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Oncology Nurses Champion Tobacco Cessation Programs
Twenty-five years ago, you could be flying at 39,000 feet and still be inhaling cigarette smoke. Smoking’s pervasiveness in U.S. culture was far and wide, and it wasn’t until cancer research findings—coupled with public policy and healthcare education—that the dangers of smoking caught on with the general public. Since then, smoking rates have declined.
FDA Issues Warning Letters for the Sale of Tobacco to Minors
FDA Launches Bold Campaign Against Tobacco Products Targeted at Minors
ONS Get Up, Get Moving Champions
Addressing Myths About Family History and Cancer Risk
Urban legends. Myths. Sometimes you should not believe everything you hear or read. The more emotionally charged the issue, often the bigger the myth. In my practice of providing cancer risk assessment and genetics education and counseling, patients often thank me at the end of the session and tell me they are going to explore the information more extensively at home on the internet.