Three years ago, Tony, a 42-year-old man, began FOLFOX chemotherapy treatment for stage III colon cancer and achieved a complete response. Two years later, a biopsy of an intraabdominal lesion uncovered metastatic disease, and he was prescribed the epidermal growth factor inhibitor (EGFRi) cetuximab. Alex, the oncology nurse educating Tony on the side effects of EGFRi therapy, understands that skin toxicities are common with the class of drugs and looks for national guidelines for prevention and management direction.
Painful skin reactions may develop in as many as 95% of patients receiving radiotherapy treatments for cancer. Patients report that it affects their quality of life and that purchasing interventions to soothe their skin increases their out-of-pocket costs. Supporting patients who experience the side effect is critical for their well-being.
Caring for patients with cancer is a complex subspecialty of nursing. In most of their day-to-day work, oncology nurses function independently and require time management, communication, and prioritization skills in addition to extensive clinical knowledge and expertise.
When used in combination with fulvestrant, alpelisib (Piqray®) produced complete or partial responses in 29% of patients with PIK3CA-altered, estrogen receptor-positive advanced breast cancer in clinical trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in 2019.
Our understanding of cancer’s genetic components is constantly growing, with new cancer susceptibility genes discovered every year that change how we screen for and treat cancer. Genetics specialists keep up with the latest information and implications of genetic results is and can be a great addition to comprehensive oncology teams.
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