HHS Launches Network of Leaders and Organizations to Encourage COVID-19 Vaccinations
As of July 2021, more than 159 million individuals in the United States have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus, totaling about 48.1% of the U.S. population. However, approximately 173 million others have not, or suggested they will not, receive the vaccination. President Biden’s goal of having 70% of Americans receive at least one vaccine dose and 160 million adults to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4, 2021, fell short.
FDA Grants Regular Approval to Pembrolizumab and Lenvatinib for Advanced Endometrial Carcinoma
On July 21, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) in combination with lenvatinib (Lenvima®) for patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR), who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy in any setting, and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation.
FDA Announces Recall for 12 Lots of Varenicline Tablets Because of N-Nitroso Varenicline Content
On July 19, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported Pfizer’s voluntary recall of two lots of varenicline 0.5 mg tablets, two lots of varenicline 1 mg tablets, and eight lots of a varenicline kit of 9.5 mg/1 mg tablets to the patient level because of the presence of N-nitroso-varenicline, a nitrosamine, above the Pfizer-established acceptable daily intake level. Varenicline is a treatment to help patients quit smoking and is intended for short-term use. To date, Pfizer has not received any reports of adverse events that have been related to the recall.
FDA Announces Recall of One Lot of Topotecan Injection Because of Presence of Particulate Matter
On July 1, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported Teva Pharmaceuticals’ June 30, 2021, voluntary recall of lot 31328962B of topotecan injection 4 mg/4 ml. The recall was based on a report that a single vial contained a glass particle, a grey silicone particle, and a translucent, colorless cotton fiber.
The Case of the Mysterious Myalgia
Randi is a 57-year-old patient who identifies as female. She was diagnosed with clear cell metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), and her past medical history includes mild hypertension managed with amlodipine and a two-year history of transient musculoskeletal pain managed with tramadol. She reports a family history of cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Her primary care physician suspects Randi is at the beginning stages of fibromyalgia but has not made a conclusive diagnosis because she hasn’t experienced additional symptoms.
FDA Approves Belumosudil for Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease
On July 16, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved belumosudil (RezurockTM), a kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of chronic graft-versus-host disease (chronic GVHD) in adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older after failure of at least two prior lines of systemic therapy.
Diagnose and Treat Hypercalcemia of Malignancy
Hypercalcemia of malignancy (HCM) is a common paraneoplastic syndrome associated with poor prognosis that affects approximately 20%–30% of patients with cancer. It’s most often seen in patients with breast, lung, renal, or ovarian cancers; squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck; multiple myeloma; and certain lymphomas.
Long-Term irAEs From Checkpoint Inhibitors Have Considerations for Survivorship
More than 40% of patients with melanoma treated with nivolumab or pembrolizumab experience persistent long-term immune-related adverse events (irAEs) for at least 1.5 years, researchers reported in JAMA Oncology.
Nurse Researcher AIMS to Increase Screening for Malnutrition and Reduce Bowel Dysfunction
Research has identified an association between malnutrition and functional deficits in patients with cancer, regardless of age, and other studies confirm that malnutrition affects treatment tolerability, outcomes, and quality of life for patients with cancer. However, studies have also found that oncology clinicians do not consistently assess for malnutrition and functional deficits in clinical settings.
The Evidence Is Building for ACE Inhibitors in Anthracycline-Associated Cardiotoxicity
Cardiac toxicities are associated with many types of cancer therapies, with both length of and time since treatment increasing a patient’s risk for the adverse event. Anthracycline chemotherapies are among the oldest agents still used for a variety of cancer diagnoses, and as cancer survivorship continues to grow, more patients are presenting with late-onset cardiac complications.
FDA Approves Daratumumab and Hyaluronidase-Fihj With Pomalidomide and Dexamethasone for Multiple Myeloma
On July 9, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved daratumumab and hyaluronidase-fihj (Darzalex Faspro®) in combination with pomalidomide and dexamethasone for adult patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior line of therapy, including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor.
FDA Grants Regular Approval to Enfortumab Vedotin-Ejfv for Locally Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Cancer
On July 9, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved enfortumab vedotin-ejfv ([EV], Padcev®), a Nectin-4–directed antibody and microtubule inhibitor conjugate, for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who previously received a programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) or programmed death-ligand (PD-L1) inhibitor and platinum-containing chemotherapy or are ineligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and have previously received one or more prior lines of therapy.
Nursing Considerations for Ovarian Cancer Survivorship Care
Historically, ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at advanced stages because of vague symptoms and presentation, but with new advancements in diagnosis and treatment options, patients with the disease are living longer than ever.
FDA Requires E-Cigarette Brands to Provide Information on Social Media Practices
Companies marketing the tobacco brands Aspire, Joyetech, Vaporesso, and Voopoo, which were selected through a systematic process, must share information about social media marketing campaigns that target youth, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced. The requirements include social media advertising documents and marketing plans, such as planned content to target specific audiences, cost of plans, use of partners and influences, and the number of followers and views broken down by age group.
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: MUTYH-Associated Polyposis
MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) is an autosomal recessive hereditary cancer syndrome. It’s most commonly seen in people of northern European ancestry, where an estimated 1 in 20,000–40,000 have MAP (two pathogenic variants on opposite chromosomes) and 1%–2% have one MUTYH pathogenic variant.
Oncology Dietitians Tackle Nutritional Barriers and Dispel Misinformation
Because they often face nutrition challenges—such as nausea, taste alterations, difficulty swallowing, and altered gastrointestinal function—that develop during their journey and hinder their nutrition stability, patients with cancer have increased nutrient needs. Oncology dietitians are experts at guiding patients and caregivers through the nutritional process and developing solutions.
NINR Seeks Nursing Input for 2022–2026 Strategic Plan
Nursing science research must look at the whole picture of health, including health equity, social determinants of health, and the translation of science into policy and practice, the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR) said in its approach to developing the 2022–2026 strategic plan.
Food for Thought: Prevent and Screen for Malnutrition in Patients With Cancer
Malnutrition affects 30%–85% of all patients with cancer, making it one of the most common symptoms for oncology nurses to manage. To help patients achieve the best outcomes, clinicians must understand how and when to screen for malnutrition and how nutritional status affects treatment outcomes and patients’ quality of life.
USPSTF Recommends Colorectal Cancer Screening Should Begin at 45
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, with an estimated 52,980 individuals in the U.S. projected to die from the disease in 2021. After evaluating the current evidence and conducting a modeling study, USPSTF updated its recommendations on colorectal cancer screening.
FDA Approves Asparaginase Erwinia Chrysanthemi for Leukemia and Lymphoma
On June 30, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved asparaginase erwinia chrysanthemi (recombinant)-rywn (RylazeTM) as a component of a multiagent chemotherapeutic regimen for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and lymphoblastic lymphoma (LBL) in adult and pediatric patients one month or older who have developed hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived asparaginase.
The Case of the CIA-Combatting Combination
Sofia is a 35-year-old patient who identifies as female who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is concerned with experiencing chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) as an adverse event from treatment. She comes in for her first infusion of adriamycin plus cyclophosphamide and is using scalp cooling to prevent hair loss. She works as a project manager, which requires her to keep her camera on for her many daily video calls. She is very anxious about losing her hair and asks you if taking minoxidil in addition to the scalp cooling treatment would guarantee she maintains her hair.
Immunotherapy Extends Survival in Uveal Melanoma
Patients with uveal melanoma who were treated with tebentafusp, an investigational immunotherapy, lived a median 5.7 months longer than those in comparison groups, researchers reported in study findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2021 annual meeting.
Oncology Drug Reference Sheet: Tepotinib
Tepotinib (Tepmetko®) was granted accelerated approval in February 2021 for mesenchymalepithelial transition (MET)-altered metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) based on overall response rate and duration. The drug is still under long-term evaluation and healthcare providers should report all serious adverse events that may be associated to FDA’s MedWatch Reporting System.
OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Healthcare Workers From COVID-19
“Frontline healthcare workers have a nearly 12-times higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 compared with individuals in the general community,” according to the results of a 2020 study. Although U.S. vaccination rates continue to increase and infection rates continue to decrease, national government entities such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are releasing new guidelines to help protect those who are putting themselves at risk for transmission so they can care for others.
FDA Approves Avapritinib for Advanced Systemic Mastocytosis
On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved avapritinib (Ayvakit™) for adult patients with advanced systemic mastocytosis (AdvSM), including patients with aggressive systemic mastocytosis, systemic mastocytosis with an associated hematologic neoplasm, and mast cell leukemia.
Conflict Engagement Helps Providers Focus on Care
Nurses have an innate drive to improve healthcare delivery. When I was a unit director, I focused on nursing unit turnarounds to improve quality of care. I used mediation as the model for resolving long-time conflicts and provided training to effectively engage and communicate. I started my mediation practice in 2003 to help physicians, nurses, and administrators resolve the complex issues that get in the way of patient care and create stressful work environments.
HHS Solidifies Protections for LGBTQ Patients
In a May 2021 expansion to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and the Title IX civil law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Office for Civil Rights, increased protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) people from discrimination. The revisions now prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Big Tobacco Continues to Target Female Smokers, but Oncology Nurses Can Help
More than 16 million people who identify as women and girls in the United States reported smoking in 2021, according to a May 2021 report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, of which ONS is an active member, who partnered with several leading women’s organizations on the study. Female smokers are also significantly more likely than men to use menthol cigarettes, and e-cigarette use among high school girls rose by 89% from 2017–2020.
Research Between Structural Racism and Health Disparities Calls for Changes in Healthcare Delivery
Structural racism is repeatedly linked to health disparities, but a new agency report outlines plans to address discrimination and improve patient outcomes. In a special 2021 supplement to the journal Ethnicity and Disease, “Structural Racism and Discrimination: Impact on Minority Health and Health Disparities,” the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities published a series of reports exploring the relationships between policies, practices, and health. It also included recommended solutions, including outcomes from interventions in a school district and a local health department and future research directions (e.g., examining ways racism embedded in online systems can contribute to health disparities).
APRNs Are Essential in Survivorship Programs
As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow in the United States, so too does the need for cancer survivorship programs. Oncology advanced practice RNs (APRNs) are essential team members as institutions develop and deliver comprehensive and holistic programs to meet survivors’ needs.
Research Findings Confirm Link Between Communication and Safety
My team’s current project to understand communication in ambulatory oncology settings stems from more than a decade of research (Kamimura et al.), in which we have tried to uncover the factors that facilitate high-quality cancer care for patients and a satisfying practice environment for care teams (Friese).
Career Changes Are Challenging, but Hold On to Hope
In nursing, we talk about progressing from novice to expert. I remember my feelings as a new nurse, of being overwhelmed by the many things that I didn’t know. Over time, I became comfortable in my growing knowledge. I developed skills, learned about diseases and treatments, and adapted to the politics of my particular unit and the people in it.
Nursing Considerations for Prostate Cancer Survivorship Care
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among those assigned male at birth, with one in eight diagnosed during their lifetime. But with five-year survival rates of 90%, it’s also one of the most successful cancers to treat, making survivorship care even more important.
FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Infigratinib for Metastatic Cholangiocarcinoma
On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to infigratinib (Truseltiq™), a kinase inhibitor for patients with previously treated, unresectable locally advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma with a fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 fusion or other rearrangement as detected by an FDA-approved test. FDA also approved the FoundationOne® CDx as a companion diagnostic for infigratinib.
Maximize Your Words’ Healing Power
Effectively treating a cancer diagnosis requires an immense amount of collaboration. Clinicians are equipped with the clinical knowledge to provide the best care possible, and sharing that crucial information with each other and patients is essential for optimal patient outcomes.
FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Sotorasib for KRAS G12C-Mutated NSCLC
On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to sotorasib (Lumakras™), a RAS GTPase family inhibitor, for adult patients with KRAS G12Cmutated locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as determined by an FDA approved test, who have received at least one prior systemic therapy.
FDA Approves Second PSMA-Targeted PET Imaging Drug for Prostate Cancer
On May 27, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved piflufolastat F 18 (Pylarify®), a drug for positron-emission tomography (PET) imaging of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-positive lesions in patients with prostate cancer.
Oncology Drug Reference Sheet: Trilaciclib
On February 12, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved trilaciclib (CoselaTM), a parenteral inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase, to prevent myelosuppression when administered prior to chemotherapy administration. The approval is currently limited to the use of trilaciclib before treatment with platinum- and etoposide-containing regimens and topotecan-containing regimens for treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer.
FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Amivantamab-Vmjw for Metastatic NSCLC
On May 21, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to amivantamab-vmjw (Rybrevant™), a bispecific antibody directed against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MET receptor, for adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations, as detected by an FDA-approved test, whose disease has progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. FDA also approved the Guardant360® CDx as a companion diagnostic.
What the Evidence Says for Dance/Movement Therapy in Cancer Care
Dance/movement therapy is a complementary modality that may help patients manage cancer and its treatment-associated symptoms. Based on the concept that mind, body, and spirit are interconnected, it combines the communicative elements of dance and movement with other body-focused activities—such as guided imagery, mindfulness, breath awareness, and play—to create an emotionally inviting environment where participants can share feelings and experiences.
FDA Approves Nivolumab for Resected Esophageal or GEJ Cancer
On May 20, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved nivolumab (Opdivo®) for patients with completely resected esophageal or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer with residual pathologic disease who have received neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy.
The Case of the Weight Loss Wishes
Craig was diagnosed with colorectal cancer after a routine colonoscopy and subsequent colectomy. He meets with Lacey, the oncology nurse, to discuss managing the side effects of his FOLFOX chemotherapy. Lacey notes that Craig’s age is 71, weight is 255 lbs., and body mass index (a body fat ratio based on weight and height) is 38. Craig describes his activity level as “walking to the mailbox and exercising my fingers on the remote control. This cancer treatment will help me knock off some of this extra weight.”
Nursing Considerations for Melanoma Survivorship Care
Breast, prostate, colorectal, and melanoma are the most common primary cancer sites among 58% of survivors. Advancements in immunotherapy and targeted therapies have significantly increased treatment options for a disease that once had very limited treatment options, markedly improving overall five-year survival rates for patients with melanoma. Yet survival rates vary depending on extent of disease (local versus metastatic) and ethnic minority disparities. Although the overall (all stages combined) five-year survival rate for White patients with melanoma is 93%, the rate drops to 87% for Hispanics and to just 23% for those with distant melanoma.
Larotrectinib and Other Tumor-Agnostic Targeted Therapies Are Leading Cancer Care Into the Next Frontier
In 2018, the cancer drug larotrectinib quietly became a milestone along the evolving path to approaching cancer therapy: it was the first agent approved to treat a genetic variant, not a specific type of cancer or disease site. And as oncology treatment science progresses, many predict that it won’t be the last—it’s already been joined by pembrolizumab and entrectinib as tumor-agnostic therapies. The key to curing cancer may be hidden in the disease’s genetic code rather than its location in the body.
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: BRCA1 and BRCA2 Hereditary Cancers
BRCA1- or BRCA2-associated hereditary breast and ovarian cancer is the most common form of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The prevalence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variants in the general population is estimated at 1 in 400–500 people, although it increases to 1 in 40 for those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, which is linked to three founder pathogenic variants (BRCA1 c.68_69delAG, BRCA1c.5266dupC, and BRCA2 c.5946delT).
FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Pembrolizumab for HER2-Positive Gastric Cancer
On May 5, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) in combination with trastuzumab and fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy for first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma.
How to Handle Even the Worst Radiation Therapy Side Effects
Some of the most painful side effects of cancer and its treatment occur with radiation therapy. Although patients may find the effects emotionally devastating, nurses can help take a proactive management approach by preparing patients for what’s ahead. Annette Quinn, RN, MSN, from the University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center, outlined the most common but distressing side effects and tips for managing them during a session held on April 29, 2021, for the 46th Annual ONS Congress™.
Time in Nature Is Time Well Spent
“Nature alone cures,” Florence Nightingale instructed her fellow nurses in Notes on Nursing—and we’ve continued to follow that principle, creating a healing environment for our patients that involves fresh air and sunlight. That same environment can promote health in nurses as well.