Health Disparities Have Cancer Implications for Indigenous People. Here’s How to Provide Culturally Competent Care.
Among all racial and ethnic groups, indigenous people (Native American and Alaska Natives) had the largest decline in life expectancy from 2020–2021. They also have the lowest overall life expectancy (65.2 years) than any of their Asian, Black, Hispanic, or White counterparts—in some cases, up to 20 years shorter. Indigenous people have disproportionately high rates of suicide, chronic liver disease, cardiac disorders, diabetes, and infant and maternal mortality.
CDC: Cancer Prevention Starts in Childhood
As summer’s heat records finally take a fall break, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) latest awareness campaign reminds parents about some simple strategies to start now to support their children’s health and lower their risk for cancer later in life.
An Oncology Nurse’s Guide to Cascade Testing
A critical and often overlooked component of germline biomarker testing, cascade testing involves identifying biologic relatives at risk for inheriting a specific known family pathogenic variant after it’s first found in the family and extending the offer for germline biomarker testing to them.
Transgender Patient Populations
Transgender individuals often experience poor health outcomes, particularly when it comes to cancer. Compared with cisgender individuals, transgender individuals may be diagnosed with cancer at later stages, be less likely to receive treatment, and have worse survival for many cancer types. The disparities extend to survivorship, where transgender people report significant unmet needs, including lack of coordination between gender-affirming care and cancer care, oncology clinician understanding of transgender patient care needs, and transgender-specific resources.
Young Leaders Carry Lifetime Connections Forward as 2022–2023 Pilot Program Concludes
During an inspirational panel discussion at the 48th Annual ONS Congress® that moved many to tears, ONS wrapped up its Leadership Development Committee 2022–2023 Young Leaders pilot program in late April 2023.
Mental Health and Wellness in the Asian American/Pacific Islander Community
Rates of hate incidents against the Asian American/Pacific Islander community have tripled since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and it’s taking a toll on the population’s mental well-being. Researchers have linked pandemic-related discrimination to increased anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances among members of the AAPI community, yet they are much less likely to seek or accept mental health services than any other racial group.
As Institutions Establish Oral Agent Workflows, Savvy Educators Help Nurses Apply Them to Practice
Oncology nursing is a hands-on practice, and nurses’ learning must be hands-on, too. Allowing your colleagues to try out what you teach further solidifies their foundational knowledge and new concepts. With the use of oral oncolytic agents exploding in oncology care, we must adapt and learn the ins and outs of these agents. As a unit educator at The University of Kansas Cancer Center in Westwood, I help nursing staff understand my cancer center’s oral agent refill process.
Thank You, ONS Congress® Attendees!
Coming to you from Congress, as our coverage wraps up, we're reminded once more of the strength and compassion oncology nurses demonstrate every day. On Saturday evening, we celebrated all of you during the ONS Congress attendee reception at the Stars at Night Ballroom in the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center.
Preview the Poster Pavilion at ONS Congress®
Coming to you from Congress, attendees visited the ONS Poster Pavilion to talk with poster abstract presenters to learn more about key oncology nursing topics, directly from leaders and experts. Take a look at one of this year's poster sessions.
Gamification Helps Oncology Nurses Retain Their Cancer Knowledge and Best Practices
Whether it’s through conferences, podcasts, or journals and other articles, an oncology nurse’s quest for continuing their cancer care learning is ever extensive. Innovative educational methods like gamification can keep training fresh and encourage teamwork.
Clinical and Pharmaceutical Nurse Educators Collaborate to Bring Training to Nurses and Improve Patient Care
In 2022 we celebrated the National League for Nursing’s Year of the Nurse Educator, but nursing staff recognize and thank nurse educators for their critical role in training and support year in and year out. Oncology nurses in particular rely on nurse educators to stay updated as treatments and patient care constantly evolve—and that requires a multipronged approach. All aspects are covered when clinical nurse educators and pharmaceutical nurse educators come together to deliver training for today’s cancer therapies.
Demonstrate Your Scope of Practice by Becoming an Oncology Certified Nurse
In the years following their initial licensure, nurses will often pursue certification. Obtaining certification shows a nurse’s commitment to their profession, specialty, and patients. Along with showing their commitment, certifications validate a nurse’s qualification and knowledge of a specific area.
The Life of Marie Curie and Her Contributions to Oncology
November 7, 2022, is the 155th birthday of Maria Sklodowska, who is better known as Madame Marie Curie, one of the greatest minds of chemistry, physics, and radiation oncology. The day also marks the fifth anniversary of #WomenWhoCurie, a social media campaign from the Society for Women in Radiation Oncology that supports and increases visibility of women in radiation oncology.
Nurse-Led Online Intervention Improves Symptoms, Control, and QOL in Ovarian Cancer
An eight-week online symptom self-management program, which can be facilitated by a nurse, significantly improves symptom burden, sense of control, and quality of life among patients with ovarian cancer. Researchers reported the evidence in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Post-Flooding Natural Disaster Cancer Considerations and Patient Education Points
Natural disasters present unique challenges to patients with cancer and the healthcare systems that must stand ready to keep them healthy. Exposure to floodwater places patients at risk for infectious diseases, chemical hazards, and injury, and anything in the water’s path, including medical equipment, medications, homes, and vehicles, can be severely damaged or destroyed. Patients with cancer who are immunocompromised are a highly vulnerable post-flooding population and need special guidance.
Balance Hope and Quality of Life for Phase I Clinical Trials
Leita, a 42-year-old patient with locally advanced pancreatic cancer, was treated with 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin followed by capecitabine and radiation therapy. After she completed initial treatment, a computed tomography scan conducted in preparation for a possible surgical resection revealed metastatic liver lesions. Leita’s surgery was cancelled, and she began second-line therapy with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel.
Nurse-Led Survivorship Programs
Survivors need support to resume a high-quality, healthy “new normal” life after they complete their treatment. The services of a cancer survivorship clinic or program may help them manage the physical and emotional implications involved with ongoing care.
Inspiring, Diverse Nurses Join ONS's Young Leaders Pilot Program
PITTSBURGH, PA—August 25, 2022—Seven emerging Oncology Nursing Society member leaders under age 40, representing diverse oncology nursing backgrounds around the world, joined the ONS Leadership Development Committee’s 2022 Young Leaders pilot program.
Can Patients Use Continuous Glucose Monitors During Radiation Therapy for Cancer?
Sally is a 65-year-old patient with T3N1M0 human papillomavirus–negative cancer of the supraglottic larynx who is beginning treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. She has a history of type 1 diabetes mellitus, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy, and hospital admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis. She has been using a continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump to help her effectively manage her diabetes. She is concerned that her chemotherapy regimen will involve taking dexamethasone, which will affect her hard-to-control diabetes. Sally tells you she wants to wear her CGM and IP during treatment.
Support Impaired Patients’ Medical Decision-Making Capacity
John is a 58-year-old patient who was diagnosed with glioblastoma two years ago. He initially responded well to radiation, temozolomide, and a tumor-treating fields device. His cancer recurred 18 months after diagnosis, and John underwent a second craniotomy that was complicated by a stroke. He became unable to verbally communicate, but John and his partner had previously discussed his desire to participate in clinical trials to help extend his life. The medical oncologist says that John will not qualify for a clinical trial because John is unable to give an informed consent, and John’s partner is frustrated that she can’t speak for him and respect his wishes.
New Technology Tools Help Oncology APRNs Improve Patient Outcomes
Clinical decision support systems are tools integrated into electronic health records that include reminders for preventive care, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, order sets, and alerts for drug prescribing. In health care, artificial intelligence converts data into knowledge to guide clinical decisions. When combined, the two technologies can guide advanced practice RNs and other providers with predictions and suggestions that go beyond human accuracy and specificity.
Your ONS Membership Offers You Benefits in Other Organizations, Too
ONS reaps value and benefits from its many collaborations and teamwork—whether between members and staff the Society’s own partnerships with and memberships in other organizations. You may see the outcomes that ONS achieves from those organizational relationships, but you may not yet realize the direct benefit they have for you as well.
Use This Checklist to Take a Stress-Free Vacation
Summer is synonymous with vacations, and vacations require logistical preparation. (What will I pack? What should I plan to do?) But it’s also important to ready yourself mentally for a period of wellness and rejuvenation to reap the full benefits of a well-deserved getaway. Making a checklist can help eliminate the stress of both, before and during your travel.
Use Conversational Assessments to Deliver Whole-Person Care
Whole-person care involves evaluating a patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and social health. A conversational assessment can help oncology nurses foster an open dialogue about the patient as a person, not just their physical or health needs.
ONS Bridge™ Returns in September With Live and On-Demand Content for Oncology Nurses
ONS Bridge™, the Oncology Nursing Society’s (ONS’s) premier annual conference tailored to nurses in direct patient care, returns to your screens in September with topics such as care coordination and the latest information on cancer therapies.
What the Evidence Says About Traditional Chinese Medicine for Chronic Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a distressing condition that significantly affects patients’ quality of life and social functioning. Characterized by passage of more than three unformed stools in 24 hours, in cancer it can be caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, laxatives and antibiotics, enteral feeding, malabsorption syndromes, colectomy, or several types of malignant tumors. Diarrhea has also been reported in long-term cancer survivors. Standard treatment options such as opiate agonists and adsorbents are associated with side effects that may increase a patient’s symptom burden.
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.
Oncology Nursing QI Project Shows Normal Saline Is Comparable to Heparin for Pediatric CVCs
Emerging evidence has consistently shown that flushing central venous catheters with normal saline is comparable to heparin flushes in the adult care setting, leading to updated guideline recommendations that include saline as an alternative. But to date, only two studies have evaluated the two options in pediatric patients, the older of which found increased complications when used in children with leukemia or lymphoma. Is normal saline an acceptable alternative in that population?
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is a rare autosomal dominant genetic disease affecting about 1 in 30,000 people. Pathogenic variants in the MEN1 gene are associated with benign and malignant tumors in the parathyroid glands, pituitary gland, pancreas, duodenum, and stomach.
Symptom assessment gives oncology nurses a consistent matrix to directly evaluate the significance that symptoms have on patients’ distress, quality of life, and survival. Both symptoms and their impact can evolve throughout a patient’s cancer course, making high-quality and detail-oriented assessments an essential tool for successful treatment and management.
FDA Says It’s Continuing to Evaluate Pulse Oximeters’ Race-Related Accuracy and Limitations
More than a year and a half after a report suggesting a potential racial bias in pulse oximeter technology first surfaced as a letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), on June 21, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it is continuing its investigation into the devices’ accuracy and performance, particularly among people of color.
ONS’s Clinical Decision Support Tool Brings Biomarker Advancements to the Point of Care
PITTSBURGH, PA—June 24, 2022—Curated by nurses, for nurses, ONS’s new Biomarker Database connects clinicians to information about therapeutic options for certain cancers and their associated biomarkers.
The Case of the Late Head and Neck Lymphedema
Samuel, a 55-year-old patient with a history of T3N1M0 oropharyngeal HPV+ cancer on the base of his tongue, underwent surgery followed by 70 Gy of intensity-modulated radiation over seven weeks with concurrent weekly cisplatin. He responded well and had a positron emission tomography (PET) scan three months post-treatment that showed no cancer. Two months later, Samuel calls the triage line to report swelling on the left side of his neck, the same area where he first noticed a lymph node that led to his initial diagnosis.
CMS’s Chronic Pain Experience Journey Map Will Help Patients and Providers
Highlighting the most prominent barriers that people accessing care face and the influencers acting on providers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled in May Chronic Pain Experience Journey Map. The map came out of the work done under the 2019 Chronic Pain Stakeholder Engagement initiative to explore the serious role chronic pain has in patients’ lives.
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
Individuals with 10–100+ polyps may have a germline pathogenic variant in the APC gene, placing them at higher risk for developing colorectal, gastrointestinal, and other cancers. The condition is known as familial adenosis polyposis (FAP), and loss of function in the APC gene is the first step in the adenoma-to-carcinoma sequence. Some people have an attenuated form (aFAP), with delayed polyp growth and fewer polyps (see sidebar). As many as 20% are de novo, meaning that they are the first in their family to have an identified pathogenic variant.
Nursing Considerations for Bladder Cancer Survivorship Care
Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States, with an estimated 83,730 adult diagnoses in 2021. Smoking is the greatest risk factor (47% of all cases occur in smokers), followed by advancing age and sex (assigned males are four times more likely to develop bladder cancer than those assigned female). The incidence rate in White people is double that of Black people, but Black people are twice as likely to die from the disease.
ONS Joins Oncology Organizations to Improve Patient Understanding and Outcomes for IV Cancer Therapies
ONS collaborated with the National Community Oncology Dispensing Association, Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association, and Association of Community Cancer Centers to launch the IV Cancer Treatment Education (IVE) online resource. After the success of the highly used Oral Chemotherapy Education (OCE) online resource, the four oncology healthcare organizations expanded their collaboration to launch this new initiative that provides patient and caregiver resources about IV cancer therapies and their side effects.
As the World Perpetually Pivots, ONS Has What Members Need
One of the many lessons we’ve learned since early 2020 is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. When COVID-19 vaccination rates climbed and infection rates declined in spring 2021, we all confidently looked to September for a return to prepandemic activities. However, the Delta variant’s rapid transmission in July and resulting surge in infection rates paused our plans as the United States reevaluated the safety of a full return without restrictions.
APRN Leaders Mentor Students to Tackle Clinical Practice Issues
Nursing is among the top careers for job growth, with an estimated 7% increase in the nursing workforce by 2029. As new students train to enter or advance in the profession, advanced practice RNs (APRNs) must mentor and empower them to integrate evidence-based practice (EBP) into their care.
ONS Evaluates Educational Funding Landscape
During its June 10–11, 2021, meeting, the ONS Board of Directors held a joint session with the Oncology Nursing Foundation. In small group breakouts, both boards evaluated whether the Foundation’s current academic scholarship opportunities are adequate and responsive to the educational needs of the oncology nursing field. Findings from the sessions were compiled to inform additional discussion during future meetings.
Nursing Informaticists Are the Backbone of Technology-Driven Care
Emerging healthcare technologies require a significant investment in time, money, and training. It starts with ensuring that quality improvement efforts are consistent to support positive clinical and patient outcomes, which is why clinical and information technology (IT) representation is critical in making decisions and exploring solutions. Nursing informatics bridges that gap.
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.
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.
ANA Launches Nurse-Specific COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign
Nurses are a trusted resource for patient education and offer clarity during a crisis, whether it’s a cancer diagnosis or global pandemic. However, in a survey from the American Nurses Association (ANA), 30% of nurses said they have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, and a quarter of that percentage was still undecided about getting vaccinated. The two main reported reasons were fear of short- and long-term side effects (66%) and lack of information about the vaccines (50%). ANA’s new campaign educates nurses about those concerns.
Infection Prevention for Oncology Nurses
Regardless of care setting, oncology nurses must be vigilant about creating a safe environment for and educating patients about the importance of infection prevention. Patients with cancer are at increased risk for viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, but the extent depends on cancer type and treatment.
Lifelong Learning and Professional Development Are Crucial to Patient Outcomes
Cancer care is always changing, new science is constantly developing, and oncology nurses must work to keep up. ONS’s philosophy is that every nurse has room to develop knowledge, practice, and research. As an organization, we embody a commitment to lifelong learning and professional development because we understand that both are crucial to oncology nursing and patient outcomes.
ELNEC Milestone Marks Transformation of EOL Care for Countless Patients With Cancer
More than one million nurses and other professionals have received training in end-of-life (EOL) care through the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) program in the past 20 years, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported on November 6, 2020. The training has transformed EOL care around the world, including for patients with cancer.
The Evolving Landscape of Cell Transplant Therapy in Cancer Care
Each year more than 50,000 stem cell transplantations are completed worldwide. The stimulation, harvesting, and therapeutic use of patient and donor cells has evolved as a treatment for diverse cancer diagnoses, and specially trained nurses are at the heart of the clinical trials and care delivery to propel cell transplant therapy across practice settings.
Get Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Genomics and Cancer Questions
Approximately 700 members responded to ONS’s 2020 genomics survey, which gauged oncology nurses’ current genomic knowledge, applications in practice, and the specific questions they have about genetics and genomics. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions based on the survey responses.