FDA Authorizes Direct-to-Consumer Test for BRCA Cancer Gene
Genetic testing is becoming more recognized among the general public, due in part to news reports and celebrity endorsements. Now, people are seeking to understand cancer risks and prevention measures through genetic information. There are many companies that ask for a mere mouth swab and deliver insight into a person’s DNA. As this becomes more commonplace, those with familial predisposition to cancer will look for ways to understand their own genetic results. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an at-home test identifying some—but not all—breast cancer genes.
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.
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.
What You and Your Patients Should Know About the Flu This Season
As an oncology nurse, you know the prevention of any infection is critical to patients. This couldn’t be truer than with flu. Although not all illnesses are preventable, the flu vaccine is the first and best way that patients with cancer can protect themselves from flu. Oncology nurses should keep the following new information for the 2017–2018 flu season in mind.
PCORI Helps Patients Choose the Right Breast Cancer Treatment
Many women face a lack of information and understanding after their breast cancer diagnoses. Currently, women have more treatment options than ever before, and patients have the ability to review the latest findings to identify the option that fits best for their lives.
What Precautions and Recommendations Are Necessary for Patients Receiving Oral Chemotherapy in the Home?
So far, 2017 has seen an incredible amount of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for new agents and indications. Biotherapy and targeted agents represent many of the newly approved treatment options—a great deal of which are offered in oral form, increasing the opportunity for patients to receive treatment at home.
Are Your Patients Taking Herbs That May Interact With Their Cancer Drugs?
Many Americans use dietary supplements, including herbal products, in the belief that they are natural and safe. Patients with cancer use them often to enhance the effects or to reduce the adverse reactions of cancer treatments. However, few herbs have been thoroughly studied in humans. Therefore, their interactions with prescription drugs and the clinical relevance, remain undetermined. These interactions could be pharmacokinetic in nature when an herb alters the absorption, metabolism, or excretion of other drugs, or pharmacodynamic in which it affects the mechanism of action of other drugs when consumed together. Following are a few relevant herb-drug interactions encountered in the oncology setting.
Patient-Provider Communication on Immunotherapy Can Be Improved
Guidelines regarding healthcare provider communication about immunotherapy do not currently exist. Researchers sought to determine patient and provider preferences for this type of information and to identify barriers to communication about immunotherapy. The study’s findings were presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
The Case of the Immunotherapy Inquiry, Part II
You may remember Jay, a 62-year-old man with inoperable stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), from the case study in the April 2017 issue of ONS Voice. He was symptomatic with a persistent cough, unintentional weight loss, and fatigue.
ACA Could Potentially Become Expanded Medicaid; Smoking More Prevalent in Low Socioeconomic Individuals; Provider, Patient Communication Still Needs Improvement
In Washington, DC, the healthcare debate rages on. Currently, Republican senators are working behind closed doors to modify and change the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). As it stands, the AHCA is the replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known to most Americans as Obamacare. While legislators continue to debate in Washington, the insurance marketplace carries on. United Healthcare recently announced its departure from the ACA’s marketplace exchange, another in list of insurance companies that have chosen to leave.
FDA Issues Warnings to Fraudulent Cancer Treatment Companies
On April 25, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to 14 companies that were selling fraudulently marketed products claiming to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer. In total, the companies produced more than 65 products that have been sold in the United States without FDA approval.
Cervical Cancer Awareness and Education Saves Lives
January was cervical health awareness month, and the federal government, along with many advocacy groups, spent considerable time talking about early detection. According to the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cervical cancer is largely preventable. If it’s detected early, it’s often curable too. Many experts say that the key to cervical cancer is vaccination and embracing the two tests used for early detection—Pap smears and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing.
Is Scalp Cooling the Right Decision for Your Patients?
ONS Strategic Sponsor Approximately 15 percent of woman with ovarian cancer have a BRCA mutation and every year, many patients with ovarian cancer are not tested for a BRCA mutation. Family history and age are poor predictors of BRCA status in ovarian cancer patients, which is why it is so important for all women with ovarian cancer to be tested. BeBRCAware is a movement to raise awareness about the importance of genetic testing for a BRCA mutation in ovarian cancer.
Three Innovative Ways Technology Will Shift the Landscape of Cancer Care
New AHRQ Toolkit Offers Answers to Promote Patients Involvement
It’s Nurses’ Job to Help Patients and Families Make Informed Decisions
Sometimes Waiting Is the Best Decision
Last fall, I was walking with my dog at our cabin in the Ozarks of Missouri. I had my camera. I came to a clear area, and, on a dead tree, I spotted a large bird and then another. For some reason, Maggie, our energetic Lab mix, was quiet. I watched the birds from a distance and took a series of photos. Then, without warning, all of these birds started to fly away.