As Skin Cancer Screening Increases, Clinicians Find More Thin Melanomas
Although regular population-based skin cancer screening isn’t recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, more Americans are getting full-body skin exams at dermatology visits or other provider services. Data from a new study published in JAMA Dermatology suggest that the screening uptick is associated with increased diagnoses of early-stage, in situ melanoma, leading the researchers to raise concerns about overdiagnosis.
Single HPV Vaccine Dose May Be Enough to Prevent Cancer
In findings that could have global implications to change the face of female cancers, researchers reported that a single dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is highly effective in protecting young women against cervical infection with cancer-causing HPV types. The study results, which were published in NEJM Evidence, build on the body of evidence supporting single-dose HPV vaccines.
Cost Can Prevent Patients From Receiving Follow-Up Care, Study Suggests
Financial considerations are notable barriers for patients with cancer receiving follow-up cancer care, according to study findings from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program.
Cancer Mortality Declines Among Black Patients but Remains Disproportionately High
Death rates fell about 2% per year from 1999–2019 for Black patients with cancer, researchers reported in study findings published in JAMA Oncology; however, the population’s cancer mortality remains higher than other racial and ethnic groups for most cancer sites.
Biden Cancer Moonshot Relaunch Will “End Cancer as We Know It”
In a clarion call for action seven years ago, President Barack Obama unveiled the Cancer Moonshot during his last State of the Union address. In that speech, Obama recalled, “Last year, Vice President Joe Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer. Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control.”
Sexual Minority Populations Are Less Likely to Obtain Cervical Cancer Screenings
Propensity to adhere to cervical cancer screening recommendations varies widely by sexual orientation, researchers reported in study findings published in Cancer. They found that those in sexual minority groups are nearly 50% less likely to have ever undergone a Pap test.
Medicaid Expansion Under Affordable Care Act Reduces Health Disparities in Cancer Survival, New Study Suggests
A greater increase in cancer survivorship may be an outcome from Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to study results published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in May 2022.
Females Are More Likely to Have Severe Cancer Side Effects Than Males
Broad-based sex differences exist in the severity of side effects from cancer and its treatment, with female patients at an overall 34% higher risk for severe symptoms than male patients—and the risk jumps to nearly 50% for immunotherapies, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Nurses Use Innovation to Perform Symptom and Pain Assessments
Symptom and pain assessment tools can measure multiple aspects of a patient’s pain experience in both ambulatory and acute care settings. My interest in symptom assessment began with to my work as an oncology nurse practitioner, when I witnessed how symptom management can make a positive difference in patients’ lives and ability to tolerate cancer treatment.
CDC Reports More Than 1.7 Million New Cancer Cases in 2019
More than 1.7 million new invasive cancer cases were reported in the United States in 2019, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated in June 2022.
CNS Survivorship Needs More Research, Funding, and Training, Expert Panel Says
Access and reimbursement, patient and provider education, core competencies, and survivorship research funding remain critical barriers for primary central nervous system (CNS) cancer survivorship, a team of National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Oncology Network Evaluating Rare CNS Tumors experts reported in a workshop summary published in Neuro-Oncology Advances.
Use of Anxiety and Depression Drugs Linked to Increased PSA Testing
Patients who take anxiety or depression medication are more likely to obtain prostate-specific antigen tests, according to study findings that researchers presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.
Pediatric Patients With Cancer Are Vulnerable to Sleep Disturbance
Sleep disturbance has a significant impact on quality of life, including mental and physical health and academic, cognitive, and social functioning. It is one of the most common symptoms reported by pediatric patients with cancer and is significantly related to neurocognitive function for survivors.
Childhood Cancer Survivors Have Healthy but Riskier Pregnancies
Babies born to adult survivors of childhood cancers are as healthy as those born to adults without a history of cancer, but survivors have a higher risk of severe complications during pregnancy, researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
FDA Reports Illumina Cybersecurity Vulnerability May Present Risks for Patient Results and Customer Networks
On June 2, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported a cybersecurity vulnerability that affects software in the Illumina NextSeq 550Dx, MiSeqDx, NextSeq 500, NextSeq 550, MiSeq, iSeq, and MiniSeq next generation sequencing instruments. The devices are used in diagnostic (Dx), research-use only (RUO), or dual boot (either Dx or RUO) modes.
Naive T-Cell Depletion Prevents Chronic GVHD in Transplantation Survivors
A novel stem cell transplantation strategy reduces both the incidence and severity of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients with acute leukemia, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The investigational treatment removes naïve T cells from donor cells before transplanting into patients.
Decree Houses ARPA-H Under NIH Oversight
Since President Joe Biden announced the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in October 2021, the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health (NIH) shared responsibility for implementing its goals to improve the U.S. government’s ability to speed biomedical and health research. In April 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially placed the agency under NIH.
Cutaneous Malignancies Have High Response to Oncolytic Virus Plus Immunotherapy
Combination treatment with an oncolytic virus plus a PD-1 inhibitor shows promise in patients with nonmelanoma skin cancers, researchers reported in early study results during the 2022 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium.
Rep. Upton Retires After Leading Historic Cancer Care Legislation
U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) announced that he would not seek another term in the U.S. Congress during his April 2022 House of Representatives floor remarks. In November 2021, Upton and his colleagues introduced the Cures 2.0 Act, which created the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (APRA-H) dedicated to finding and researching a cure for cancer.
E-Cigarettes Increase Risk of Lung and Bladder Cancer More Than Traditional Cigarettes
People with a history of e-cigarette use have a higher risk of developing both lung and bladder cancer than never smokers or even users of regular cigarettes, according to study findings researchers reported during the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.
Minority Populations Represent Nearly Half of 100,000 Whole Genome Sequences for Researchers Through All of Us
Among the first set of nearly 100,000 whole genome sequences from participant partners in the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) All of Us Research Program, “about half come from people who self-identify with a racial or ethnic minority group,” Joshua Denny, MD, MS, All of Us chief executive officer, and Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, NIH acting director, said. “That’s extremely important because, until now, over 90% of participants in large genomic studies were of European descent. This lack of diversity has had huge impacts—deepening health disparities and hindering scientific discovery from fully benefiting everyone.”
AI Ultrasound Is Nearly 100% Accurate in Detecting Thyroid Cancers
Ultrasound imaging guided with artificial intelligence (AI) noninvasively detects almost all malignant thyroid nodules, researchers reported at the 2022 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium. It is also accurate when predicting T stage, extracapsular extension, and presence of a BRAF variant.
Studies Show Best Practices to Manage CAR T-Cell Therapies’ irAEs and Improve Outcomes
Rapid advancements in the science of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies present unique challenges and opportunities related to patient care. Nurses are at the forefront of those advancements—contributing to practice guidelines, developing center-specific protocols, publishing outcomes and best practices, and researching the patient experience, outcomes, and supportive interventions.
NCI Director Steps Down After Successful Tenure
National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Norman Sharpless, MD, announced his decision to step down as the institute’s director in April 2022, a position he has held since 2017. According to NCI, the institute’s principal deputy director, Douglas R. Lowy, MD, will serve as acting director at the end of the month.
Research Shows That Vaping Alters Mouth Microbes
People who use electronic cigarettes have unique microbial communities in their mouths that more closely resembled those of smokers than nonsmokers, which may signal an increased risk of gum disease for those individuals, according to findings from research funded in part by the National Institute of Health’s (NIH’s) National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Targeting Beta2-Spectrin Could Prevent Biggest Contributor to Increasing HCC Rates
Excessive amounts of a protein called beta2-spectrin may put people at increased risk for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is the leading cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), researchers said in a report published in Science Translational Medicine. Developing treatments to lower the protein may help reduce the incidence of both diseases.
First-Line Combination Immunotherapy Prolongs Survival in BRAF Advanced Melanoma
Initial treatment with two monoclonal antibodies significantly improves survival for patients with BRAF V600-variant advanced melanoma compared to treatment with two targeted agents, researchers reported during the November 2021 ASCO Plenary Series meeting. The initial findings were so conclusive that the study’s data safety and monitoring board stopped the trial early.
Breast-Conserving Surgery Leads to Better QOL for Young Breast Cancer Survivors
Patients younger than 40 who elected to have breast-conserving surgery instead of mastectomy to remove breast cancer reported having better quality of life (QOL) more than five years after diagnosis, according to study findings reported in JAMA Surgery.
Climate Change Is Contributing to the Cancer Burden, and Nurses Must Take Action
Climate change affects more than weather patterns or the environment; it also has a substantial impact on human health. Its contribution to the cancer burden includes increased levels of carcinogens, comorbidity factors, cancer incidence, and cancer mortality and reduced access to care.
E-Cigarettes Are Not an Effective Smoking Cessation Strategy
Smokers who try to quit by switching to e-cigarettes do not have more success than those who use other smoking cessation strategies and in fact may be more likely to relapse, researchers found. They reported their study results in Tobacco Control.
Anxiety and Depression Are Biggest Concerns for Patients With Cancer, Survivors, Caregivers
As many as 49% of patients with cancer are at risk for clinically significant levels of anxiety and 38% are at risk for clinically significant levels of depression, according to data collected through the Cancer Support Community’s (CSC’s) cancer experience registry. Additionally, nearly half of caregivers have anxiety levels that are substantially higher than the national average and one-third face substantially higher fatigue and depression levels. Nationally, the rates for levels of anxiety and depression are 19.1% of U.S. adults aged 18 and older and 8.4% of U.S. adults aged 18 and older, respectively.
Fiber—but Not Probiotics—Boosts Immunotherapy Response for Melanoma
Patients with melanoma who consume a high-fiber diet during treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) or anti-PD-1 therapy experience longer progression-free survival than those who don’t, researchers reported in Science. And probiotic supplementation, often considered a healthy behavior, reduces immunotherapy response.
NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship Funded More Than $100 Million for Survivorship Research in 2020
More than 150 Office of Cancer Survivorship grants totaling nearly $112 million funded research on cancer survivorship in 2020, including “resources for implementation of the STAR Act and additional resources provided through legislation such as the 21st Century Cures Act, which authorized funding for the Cancer Moonshot,” according to the office’s 25th anniversary report.
Even Insured Patients With Advanced Cancer Experience Financial Toxicity
As many as 71% of patients with advanced cancer—most of whom have healthcare insurance—experience major financial hardship because of their disease, according to study findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Rural Populations’ Fatalistic Perceptions About Cancer May Contribute to Cancer Disparities
Compared to people living in urban areas, on a nationwide U.S. survey, rural populations were more likely to report believing that cancer is unpreventable and always fatal. Researchers reported the survey findings and analysis in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.
Nursing Considerations for ICI-Related Myocarditis
Before immunotherapies like immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) became a cancer treatment option, myocarditis typically developed in the presence of infections, drug allergies, or autoimmune diseases. Activating the immune system with ICIs can also trigger autoimmune-like adverse events such as myocarditis, and although its incidence in patients with cancer is low, mortality is high.
Biden Names Interim Leaders to Office of Science and Technology Policy
Building support for the Cancer Moonshot reignition, President Joe Biden appointed temporary leaders to streamline the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP’s) agenda of creating the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. Alondra Nelson, PhD, will serve as OSTP director and Francis Collins, MD, PhD, as science advisor to the president and co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology until permanent leaders are in place. Biden made the appointments in February 2022 after Eric Lander, his science advisor who also served as OSTP director, announced his resignation from the role.
Specialized Risk Calculator May Reduce Disparities for Black Patients With Breast Cancer
A new risk model tailored for Black patients predicts their risk of developing breast cancer as accurately as current models for White patients, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Because Black patients are more likely to be younger at diagnosis, present with aggressive or advanced cancer, and die from the disease than other racial and ethnic groups, using the new model to personalize prevention and screening recommendations may reduce those disparities.
$9 Billion in COVID-19 Relief Funds Support Healthcare Institutions
Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 payments distributed approximately $9 billion to more than 69,000 healthcare institutions that have experienced revenue losses and expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in December 2021.
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors May Increase Risk of Serious Infection
Nearly a quarter of patients receiving a variety of drugs classified as immune checkpoint inhibitors develop infections during treatment and 15% are considered severe, researcher reported in study findings published in Cancer Medicine.
Immunotherapy After Surgery May Prevent Early-Stage Melanoma Recurrence
Completing up to a year of pembrolizumab immunotherapy after surgical resection of stage IIB or IIC melanoma decreases patients’ risk for disease recurrence or death by 35%, according to study findings presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2021 annual meeting. The new findings led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand its approval of pembrolizumab to use as adjuvant therapy in both adults and children aged 12 and older with early-stage melanoma.
Geriatric Assessments Reduce Side Effect Incidence in Older Adults With Cancer
Regularly conducting geriatric assessments in older patients and using the information to guide their care reduces their risk of side effects by nearly 30%, researchers reported in study findings published in Lancet.
Nursing Considerations for Isatuximab Combination Therapy
Clinicians often use combination cancer therapies to overcome treatment resistance, and one of the newest options for certain patients with multiple myeloma is isatuximab, a monoclonal antibody (mAb). Approved for use in combination with pomalidomide plus dexamethasone to treat adults with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies, isatuximab prolonged progression-free survival by nearly six months and produced an overall response rate of more than 60% in the drug’s clinical trials.
President Biden Reignites Cancer Moonshot Initiative
The explosion of immunotherapy in your practice? You can thank the Cancer Moonshot. New discoveries in oncodrivers for childhood cancers? Thank the Moonshot again. You can also thank it for better cancer prevention and screening strategies, attention to patient-centered care, and interprofessional collaboration among oncology scientists and clinicians.
Combination CDK4/6 and Fulvestrant Has Survival Benefits in Late-Stage Breast Cancer
Combining a CDK4/6 inhibitor and fulvestrant improves overall survival consistently among patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis. The agency reported the findings in Lancet Oncology.
Never Smokers With Lung Cancer May Have One of Three Molecular Subtypes
Most lung cancers in patients who have no smoking history are the result of natural genetic variants in the body that can be classified into one of three molecular subtypes, researchers reported in study finding published in Nature Genetics.
President and First Lady Biden Recognize National Cancer Act’s 50th Anniversary
On December 23, 1971, the National Cancer Act was signed into law by Former President Richard Nixon, granting authority to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) director to develop a national cancer program. In December 2021, First Lady Jill Biden celebrated the legislation’s 50th anniversary in an NCI video, in which she recognized the importance of the act, cancer advocacy, and the disease’s personal impact on her family.