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.
Gut Microbiome May Be a Factor With Immunotherapy Resistance in Advanced Melanoma
Altering a patient's gut microbiome through fecal transplant improved response to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in 40% of patients with advanced melanoma who initially did not respond to the immunotherapy in a small, single-arm clinical trial. Researchers reported the findings in Science.
FDA Approves Atezolizumab for BRAF V600 Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma
On July 30, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq®) in combination with cobimetinib and vemurafenib for patients with BRAF V600 mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma.
Gut Microbiome Diversity May Improve Response to Melanoma Immunotherapy
A high-fiber diet leading to higher gut microbiome diversity may improve response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in patients with melanoma, according to the results of a new study presented at the 2019 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.
FDA Approves Pembrolizumab for Adjuvant Treatment of Melanoma
On February 15, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pembrolizumab for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.
Older Patients Respond Better to Checkpoint Inhibitors for Melanoma
Patients aged 62 and older are more likely to respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors for melanoma, such as pembrolizumab, according to findings from a study published in Clinical Cancer Research. A follow-up study showed that it may be because of age-related changes in the immune cells in melanoma tumors.
Small Steps Toward Sun Safety Can Make a Big Difference
I haven’t always been convinced of the importance of sun safety. In my younger years, I got more sunburns than I’d like to admit in an attempt to develop a tan. In college, I spent afternoons studying outside on a sunny quad with nothing more than shorts and a tank top for sun protection.
Stay Current on Evolving Therapies in Melanoma
After decades of no new treatment options for advanced melanoma, several drugs for unresectable stage III and IV disease and recurrent melanoma have been approved, including newer classes of drugs such as checkpoint inhibitors (anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 drugs) and signal transduction inhibitors (BRAF, MEK, and KIT inhibitors). Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) must be familiar with these newer agents and classes of drugs, especially the mutations that guide their use.
Manage Adverse Events From Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy for Melanoma
New targeted and immunotherapy drug approvals have offered improved survival and disease outcomes for patients with melanoma, but the new therapies are also associated with a range of adverse events (AEs) that differ from those associated with chemotherapy. Oncology nurses will need to shift their thinking to best manage those AEs.
Raise Awareness in July for Ultraviolet Safety and Skin Cancer Risk
With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the sunny weather. But are you protecting yourself from potential risks? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. The goal is to spread the word about how important it is to protect everyone’s skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. This presents a teaching opportunity for oncology nurses and their patients—not just during July but all year long.
Combination Treatment Improves Survival for Advanced Melanoma
A combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab improved overall survival when compared to either drug alone, according to results from a recent study reported at the American Association for Cancer Research 2017 annual meeting.
Dermascopic Clues Help Identify Seborrheic Keratosis-Like Melanoma
Melanomas that resemble seborrheic keratosis (SK) can be challenging to diagnose correctly. SKs are often removed without being evaluated dermascopically or sent for pathologic analysis, risking the possibility of missing a diagnosis of SK-like melanoma. A new study published in JAMA Dermatology outlined the key dermascopic clues that clinicians can use to identify SK-like melanomas to prevent treatment delays and achieve the best patient outcomes.
Encourage Malignant Melanoma Awareness in May
As Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, May is the perfect time to encourage people to examine their skin and seek medical assistance if they recognize signs of a melanoma. Early detection and prompt treatment is associated with a much higher survival rate for skin cancer diagnoses.
Disease Symptoms Most Likely to Predict Recurrence of Early-Stage Melanoma
Patients and healthcare providers are most likely to detect recurrence of early-stage melanoma based on symptom reports rather than routine imaging tests, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.