The Case of the Chronic Cancer Condition
Lisa, a 32-year-old tax accountant, completed treatment for stage III triple-negative breast cancer 18 months ago. During a follow-up appointment, Lisa reported worsening headaches and difficulty concentrating at work. A magnetic resonance imaging scan and subsequent biopsy revealed a solitary brain lesion. She completed stereotactic brain radiation two months ago.
Manage Cancer Treatment-Related Skin Toxicities With ONS Guidelines™
From chemotherapy to immunotherapy, many of today’s cancer treatments are associated with skin toxicities. Left unmanaged, they can affect patients’ activities of daily living, self-image, and overall quality of life and may lead to treatment disruptions, delays, or even discontinuation.
The Case of the Terrible Taste
Tanya is a 46-year-old woman with leukemia. She recently finished induction therapy, and her oncologist told her she is ready to receive a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. You speak with Tanya about what to expect in the upcoming weeks before her transplant, but she interrupts you: “Nothing tastes good anymore. I am so scared because I thought I completed chemotherapy. The doctor just told me I have to get more before my transplant. Every time I get chemotherapy, I lose my appetite.”
Manage Malnutrition’s Monstrous Consequences in Patients With Cancer
Nutritional status is one aspect of cancer care that may often be overlooked. Patients, particularly those with esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, and non-small cell lung cancers, have increased nutritional requirements because of their high resting energy expenditure. Treatment side effects further hinder a patient’s desire and ability to eat, creating a wider gap between energy intake and energy needs and placing patients with cancer at high risk for malnutrition.
Manage Cancer Treatment-Related Lymphedema With ONS Guidelines™
Surgical treatment for breast, gynecologic, prostate, lymphoma, melanoma, or head and neck cancers puts patients at risk for developing secondary lymphedema at any point in the remainder of their life. Studies show that as many as 10%–40% of patients with breast cancer may experience breast cancer–related lymphedema.
Help AYA Survivors and Patients With Cancer Navigate Infertility
In part thanks to advancements in both cancer treatment and supportive care, the number of cancer survivors is expected to reach 22 million by 2030. Adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients aged 15–39 constitute only 5% of new cancer diagnoses but have an 85% relative five-year survival rate. They represent a significant portion of all current and future cancer survivors and have unique needs, including reaching developmental milestones, coping with disruptions in personal and professional relationships, and encountering potential difficulties in family planning.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Survivorship Recommendations
Lymphomas are hematologic malignancies, specifically of the lymphatic system. They are classified into two types: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin (NHL). NHL is the seventh most common cancer in the United States and Hodgkin seen much less frequently as the 26th, but new treatment options have improved survival rates.
ONS Guidelines™ Offer Framework for Managing Treatment-Related Hot Flashes
Because of treatment effects on hormones, women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer have an increased risk of frequent and severe hot flashes after treatment. As many as 80% of patients across both genders experience the symptom, which can have an impact on sleep, mood, energy, and sexual function.
The Case of the Major Malnutrition Concerns
Max, a 60-year-old patient with head and neck cancer, is receiving chemoradiation. Since his initial consult, he’s experienced a 12% weight loss from baseline, impaired swallowing, pain, anorexia, and dysgeusia. He has financial challenges, limited social support, poor health literacy, and a history of alcohol abuse. He has a feeding tube, but you suspect he is not using it. You reinforce prior education about malnutrition, and although Max refuses to be admitted to the hospital, he promises to do better.
Glioblastoma Diagnosis, Treatment, Side Effect Management, and Survivorship Recommendations
Glioblastoma or glioblastoma multiform (GBM) is a primary central nervous system tumor. Approximately 23,890 new brain tumors are diagnosed in the United States each year, with GBM accounting for 38%. GBM can present as a primary diagnosis or evolve from a lower grade brain tumor.
Polypharmacy Before Cancer Is Predictive of Post-Treatment Hospitalization
Patients who take five or more medications in the six months before beginning IV chemotherapy for a cancer diagnosis are more likely to be hospitalized after their chemotherapy treatment, according to the findings from a new study published in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology.
Exercise Before ADT Treatment Reduces Rate of Side Effects
Beginning a supervised exercise program before the start of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer reduced the incidence of treatment-related side effects, researchers reported in a study published in BJU International.
Pelvic Radiation May Decrease Bone Mineral Density
Women receiving pelvic radiation therapy for gynecologic cancers are at higher risk for significant decreases in bone mineral density (BMD), with 7.8% of women in the study diagnosed with a pelvic fracture, according to findings from a study published in Cancer.
The Case of the Medication Modification
Doug is a 70-year-old man receiving treatment at the cancer center for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. He was initially treated with sunitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). He has been experiencing significant upper back pain and is having trouble with fine motor skills in his fingers. The oncologist, suspecting spinal cord compression (SCC), ordered a computed tomography scan, which confirmed metastatic lesions in the spine leading to instability and mild SCC. The oncologist refers Doug for surgery and advises him that a new medication, cabozantinib, will be ordered for after his surgery. The oncologist asks you, the oncology nurse, to instruct Doug on surgical preparations and educate him on cabozantinib.
How to Prevent Opioid Misuse While Effectively Managing Cancer Pain
Opioid misuse is prevalent among the U.S. population—so much so that President Trump declared it a public health emergency in 2017. At the same time, research shows that 20%–50% of patients with cancer and 80% of those with advanced-stage disease report experiencing moderate to severe pain. Balancing the dichotomies is difficult, but oncology nurses and other cancer care providers have a responsibility to provide comprehensive pain management for patients with cancer.
The Case of the Cryotherapy Consequences
Janice is 32 years old and was recently diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. She is receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, followed by weekly paclitaxel. Janice is a nationally recognized performer (vocal and piano) and is distraught over the possibility of losing her hair or developing chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and mouth sores. She asks the nurse what can be done to prevent those unwanted side effects.
Abandoning E-Cigarettes; Lymphedema Bill Stalls; Global Cancer Cases
Vaping pens and other electronic smoking devices were branded as step-down strategies to help the 60 million Americans who are unable to quit traditional cigarettes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration even supported the idea initially, but research eventually showed that vaping products contain the same or higher levels of nicotine as other tobacco products and are equally as addictive.
Does Cryotherapy Prevent Extremity Toxicities From Taxane Chemotherapy?
As many as 50% of patients receiving taxane chemotherapy have reported experiencing peripheral neuropathy (PN) or nail changes during treatment. Both are potentially dose-limiting adverse events: nail changes can lead to infections; PN affects patients’ ability to perform activities of daily living and results in sensory impairments such as loss of balance, muscle weakness, and numbness that can increase patients’ risk for falls.
How Can Oncology Nurses Collaborate With Dietitians to Manage Malnutrition?
Nutrition impact symptoms (NIS) involve any barrier to a patient’s nutritional status. Cancer and its treatments often lead to complex side effects that develop rapidly and change in character and intensity throughout treatment. Barriers to eating and drinking, digesting, and absorbing nutrients lead to negative clinical outcomes for patients with cancer, including malnutrition. Prompt assessment and interventions are key to helping patients avoid treatment holidays and dose reductions while also promoting the best possible quality of life during their cancer journey. In fact, a weight loss of just 5% is an indicator that a patient will likely not receive all of his or her prescribed cancer treatment.
Manage Cancer-Associated Anemia With Erythropoietin-Stimulating Agents
As a side effect of cancer or its treatment, anemia is associated with reduced quality of life, thanks to symptoms such as palpitations, fatigue, dyspnea, and dizziness. Etiology is often multifactorial with contributing factors such as suppression of hematopoiesis from malignancy or cancer treatments, bleeding, nutritional deficiencies, renal insufficiency, or hemolysis.
Vaping Tax; Expensive Compression Garments; ACA Premiums Fall
The rise in youth vaping has cemented e-cigarettes as a scourge of the tobacco cessation community. The products have been marketed to minors, and Congress is currently reviewing several bills meant to tackle the issue. A House of Representatives panel agreed to levy a new vaping tax on e-cigarette pods, an effort that would raise prices for vaping products in the hopes of making them less appealing and accessible to teens. Even in today’s politicized and divisive environment, bipartisan consensus demonstrates that something must be done at the federal level to combat the increase in underage smoking, particularly with electronic devices.
Pneumonitis With Immunotherapy Treatment
Pneumonitis is inflammation of the lung parenchyma; although rare, it can be fatal. Nishino et al. found that the overall incidence of pneumonitis with PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy was 2.7% for all-grade and 0.8% for grade 3 or higher pneumonitis. Naidoo et al. reported an approximate 5% incidence of all-grade pneumonitis, although the incidence of all-grade pneumonitis is higher with combination immunotherapy (up to 10%). The incidence is more common with higher grades in PD-1 inhibitors (versus PD-L1 inhibitors), but it occurs less often with anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibodies.
Hematologic Cancers Have Higher Long-Term Risk of Clots and Bleeding
Patients with hematologic cancers have a 19% increased risk for blood clots or bleeding events even 10 years after diagnosis, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.
Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most prevalent and challenging side effects that people with cancer experience. Commonly known as cancer-related fatigue (CRF), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network defines it as “a distressing, persistent, subjective sense of physical, emotional, and/or cognitive tiredness or exhaustion related to cancer or cancer treatment that is not proportional to recent activity and interferes with usual functioning.” CRF affects 50%–90% of patients and can diminish quality of life, lead to functional impairment, and is associated with significant morbidity. Although it improves in many patients the year following treatment, CRF may persist over a much longer period in some.
Patient Comfort Is Key to Managing Radiation Side Effects
Radiation therapy may cause traumatic side effects in patients with cancer, yet many standard management strategies lack strong evidence. During their session at the ONS 44th Annual Congress in Anaheim, CA, Renata Benc, RN, BA, MSc(A), CON(C), of Jewish General Hospital of the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montréal in Quebec, Canada, and John Hillson, RN, BSN, BA, OCN®, of Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, NC, instructed nurses on how to support patients undergoing radiation treatment.
For Oxaliplatin Hypersensitivity Reactions, Prevention Is the Best Strategy, but Here’s How to Manage Them
As the use of oxaliplatin in the treatment of gastrointestinal, gynecologic, and other cancers continues to grow, so too does the incidence of hypersensitivity reactions connected to the drug. Because the development of HSRs may require patients to discontinue oxaliplatin even if it’s effective against their cancer, oncology nurses need to be able to prevent or minimize reactions whenever possible.
Understand the Evidence for Exercise in Gynecologic Cancer-Related Fatigue
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women and the seventh most common overall. Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) has an estimated prevalence of 50%–90% in all patients and has been reported to affect 17%–33% of women with gynecologic cancers for as long as three to eight years after diagnosis. Many national guidelines from organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, American Cancer Society, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and ONS all recommend exercise to improve fatigue in patients with cancer. But no research has synthesized the evidence for exercise as an intervention for fatigue specifically in patients with gynecologic cancers.
Be Alert for Severe, Early-Onset Toxicities From 5-Fluorouracil and Capecitabine
Although 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and capecitabine (the oral prodrug of 5-FU) are generally well tolerated, patients can experience severe toxicities from either drug that can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. Of the 275,000 patients who receive 5-FU each year, more than 1,300 die from 5-FU toxicity, or approximately 3–4 patients per day.
Glutathione Plays a Role in Treatment-Related CINV
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) can negatively affect nutritional intake, ability to work, and treatment adherence. Research suggests that younger age and female gender are the strongest predictors of CINV, but those may not be the only factors, particularly for delayed nausea, according to research findings presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on December 5, 2018.
Nutritional Support Reduces Weight Loss for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer
As many as 50% of patients with head and neck cancer experience pretreatment weight loss. In addition, treatment frequently involves chemotherapy and radiation, which can also result in weight loss, as well as mucositis and dysphagia, which can affect patients’ ability to eat. This could lead to treatment delays that may impact treatment efficacy.
Dems on Health Care; Obamacare Enrollment; Pricey Precision Medicine
To Rally Voters, Democrats Focus on Health Care as Their Closing Argument
Although many states are already collecting early votes, Tuesday, November 6, 2018, will tell the full tale of the midterm elections. Many Democrats are emphasizing their focus on health care in the final days and hours before the election. By most measurable public opinion poll, health care remains the most important domestic issue for voters.
Priming Lines With Drug May Reduce Hypersensitivity Reactions From Rituximab
Monoclonal antibody cancer treatments such as rituximab have a high risk for hypersensitivity reactions from cytokine release syndrome. The symptoms, which can range from mild to life threatening, result from tumor antigen-expressing cells releasing cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor, interleukin, interferon) into the blood as they are destroyed. Symptoms include fever, chills, rigors, rash, headache, hypotension, shortness of breath, bronchospasm, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Tumor Lysis Syndrome
Tumor lysis syndrome is an oncologic emergency caused by massive tumor cell death with the release of large amounts of potassium, phosphate, and nucleic acids into systemic circulation. Nucleic acids break down to uric acid, leading to hyperuricemia in patients. This, in turn, leads to precipitates in the renal tubules, renal vasoconstriction, decreased renal flow, inflammation, and can potentially cause acute kidney injury.
NINR Study Identifies Genes for Fatigue in Cancer Treatment
Radiation therapy can be an incredibly draining form of treatment for patients with cancer. Side effects such as fatigue can be debilitating for many before, during, and after treatment. Because symptom management is a crucial component to cancer care and central role of oncology nursing, ensuring that patients are able to mitigate their symptoms and side effects can help improve their quality of life. Recently, a team at the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) identified certain genes associated with fatigue in men being treated for prostate cancer.
Nurses Share New Ways to Prevent and Manage Difficult Side Effects in Cancer Care
Managing toxicities and adverse events (AEs) so that patients can continue to stay on effective treatments is essential to improving outcomes. Catherine Hill, BSN, RN, OCN®, Margaret Blaney, RN, BSN, Ashley Layton, BSN, RN, OCN®, and Kaddie Lopez, BSN, RN, OCN®, PHN, discussed ways to manage and prevent symptoms in cancer care during a session at the 43rd Annual Congress in Washington, DC.
APRNs Can Help Address Global Financial Toxicity
Advancements in oncology, such as new diagnostic tools and novel therapies, have improved overall survival rates but have come at a high cost. In 2011, targeted therapies accounted for 63% of all chemotherapy expenditures. A novel cancer drug routinely costs each patient more than $100,000 per year; annual spending on cancer drugs is globally estimated around $100 billion U.S. dollars and is predicted to rise to $150 billion by 2020.
Here’s an Overview of the Types, Mechanisms, and Side Effects of Currently Approved Immunotherapies
Immunotherapy drugs fall into varying classes, each carrying its own mechanism of action and anticipated side effects. Although some side effects of immunotherapy may appear similar to those of chemotherapy (e.g., diarrhea, fatigue), they actually result from a totally different mechanism—meaning they require a different approach to management. Treating immunotherapy side effects as you would chemotherapy effects would likely result in patient harm.
Manage Diarrhea in Patients Receiving Nerlynx® (Neratinib) Tablets
Nerlynx® (neratinib) tablets, an oral kinase inhibitor, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early-stage human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer, following adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.
Evidence for Nephrotoxicity Prevention With Cisplatin Therapy Is Still Limited
Cisplatin chemotherapy is used alone or in combination to treat a variety of cancers, including ovarian, testicular, lung, cervical, bladder, head and neck, and gastric cancers as well as lymphoma, melanoma, and more. Although it offers options for many cancer types, its use may result in nephrotoxicity, a dose-limiting side effect. Use of hydration and diuretics may help reduce its incidence, but no standards or best practices are in place to guide those treatments.
The Case of the Checkpoint Inhibitor Side Effects
John is a 62-year-old man diagnosed with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). His tumor tested positive for high PD-L1 expression, and he began pembrolizumab treatment. John presents to the clinic for his third treatment and mentions that during the past week his arms and chest have been itchy and he has noticed a red, bumpy rash on his chest. When assessing John’s skin, you note a maculopapular rash on both of his upper extremities, anterior chest, and upper abdomen. What would you do?
Managing Weight Loss in Patients With Cancer
Patients’ weight and nutrition status will often vary throughout the cancer care continuum. Weight loss might occur before the diagnosis, be one of the presenting cancer symptoms, be related to the tumor itself, or be secondary to side effects of their treatment (e.g., anorexia from chemotherapy or radiation).
Massage Therapy Helps Manage Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema
Lymphedema, the chronic swelling of a limb resulting from fluid accumulation, is a common sequela of surgery or radiation treatment for breast cancer. Nearly 90% of women who develop lymphedema do so within three years of treatment. Survivors commonly report physical and emotional distress, limitations to daily activities in fear of exacerbating lymphedema, and body image issues because of an abnormally enlarged limb.
Prevent and Treat Venous Thromboembolism in Patients With Cancer
Venous thromboembolism (VTE), namely deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, is a common and serious complication. VTE is the second-leading cause of death in patients with cancer and has been connected to poorer prognoses. Other consequences include reduced short- and long-term mortality, increased risk for recurrent VTE and bleeding, a threefold increase in hospitalizations, and higher total healthcare costs. Advance practice nurses (APNs) must understand prevention strategies and treatment guidelines for this serious complication.
How Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help Patients With Cancer Manage Insomnia?
Simply put, sleep impacts everything. I consider it to be even more foundational than diet and exercise for some. If patients don’t sleep well, they are more likely to make poor food choices and not exercise. Individuals with insomnia symptoms are at higher risk for a number of physical health problems, including diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. Insomnia has been linked to mood and anxiety disorders, higher levels of perceived stress, and impaired cognitive functioning.
Sleep-Wake Disturbances in Patients With Cancer
In bedrooms across the United States, people are crawling into bed, turning down the lights, and lying awake for hours on end. Sleep-wake disturbances and short sleep duration are extremely common, and rates are even higher in patients with cancer. Unfortunately, screening, assessment, and interventions are lacking for patients experiencing sleep-wake disturbances during their cancer journey.