What Patients and Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Vaccination and Cancer
People with cancer have a particular risk for infection, and vaccines can be a powerful preventive tool. According to the World Health Organization, immunization prevents 2–3 million deaths every year worldwide from diseases, including diphtheria, influenza, and measles. Here’s what patients and nurses need to know about vaccines and guidelines for people with cancer.
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.
Real-World Usage Reports Show That ONS Guidelines™ Empower Nurses to Provide Best Patient Care
Among their many benefits in practice, ONS Guidelines™ arm oncology nurses with the evidence to advocate for their patients’ care, according to findings from a fall 2021 focus group ONS conducted with nurses practicing at all levels of direct care.
Nurses Must Take the Lead in Tobacco Cessation
Associated with more than a dozen different cancers, tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer and cancer deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 40% of all cancers are linked to tobacco use, and it’s responsible for 30% of cancer deaths in the United States and 22% around the world.
Many Popular Online Cancer Articles Contain Misleading Information, NCI Says
With a plethora of information available online, patients with cancer and their families have access to plenty of resources to learn more about their diagnosis and treatment options. However, one-third of the online articles about cancer circulating on social media contain incorrect information, according to findings from a 2021 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Best Practices to Manage Electrolytes in Patients With Hypomagnesemia or Hypokalemia
Patients with cancer may experience low levels of magnesium and potassium for a variety of reasons throughout the course of their treatment, and both conditions can be serious or even fatal. Oncology nurses are critical in educating patients and understanding the benefits and potential concerns associated with electrolyte replacement, Puja Patel, PharmD, BCOP, from Northwestern Medicine Delnor Cancer Center in Geneva, IL, said during a session during the ONS BridgeTM virtual conference on September 16, 2021.
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.
Share These Resources to Increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rates
President Joe Biden committed to getting at least 70% of U.S. adults their first dose of the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine and achieve 160 million fully vaccinated American adults by July 4, 2021. However, one in five Americans reported that they aren’t planning to get vaccinated. To dispel public fear and increase understanding, several U.S. health agencies provided multiple resources to educate patients and providers on vaccine distribution and efficacy.
NCCN Dr. Steven Pergam Educates Patients With Cancer on COVID-19
Steven Pergam, MD, MPH, associate professor of the vaccine and infectious disease division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, and infection prevention director at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, co-led a National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) committee that issued recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination for patients with cancer. He received his first Moderna dose on December 29, 2020, and has been dispelling fear and spreading education about the vaccine.
How Public Health Can Stop the Pandemic (Hint: It’s COVID-19 Vaccination)
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it. The mortality rate is devasting, the economic impact is jarring, and no one can pinpoint any date for its end. But new vaccines offer a glimmer of hope—but only if the country can settle discussions about achieving adequate vaccination coverage and strategies to distribute and inoculate hundreds of millions of people.
CDC Campaign Fights Declining Cancer Screening Rates
Nearly 1.9 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021. However, overall cancer screenings dropped roughly 80% in 2020 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and statewide stay-at-home orders. To combat the decline, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) new outreach campaign reminds patients and providers of the importance of cancer screening.
Patient Education Reduces Barriers and Increases Adherence Rates
Patient education is an essential aspect of cancer prevention. Nearly 1.9 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021, and modifiable risk factors are responsible for approximately 35% of cancer-related deaths. However, less than half of Americans understand the major risk factors that contribute to the development of cancer.
FDA Campaign Targets Youth Tobacco Use With Classroom Education
What’s the real cost of youth vaping? In a campaign to combat the ongoing epidemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Scholastic, which publishes classroom magazines with accompanying teacher guides, provided e-cigarette education materials for middle and high school students to teach young Americans about the risks of e-cigarette use and nicotine addiction.
U.S. Senate Designates November as National Lung Cancer Awareness Month
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution designating November as National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and supporting early detection of lung cancer, a crucial awareness with smoking on the rise among young adults.
Resource Helps Explain the Potential Dangers of E-Cigarettes to Providers and Patients
E-cigarettes are dangerous and their risks outweigh any potential smoking-cessation benefits, the U.S. Government Accountability Office explained in a new two-page resource that analyzes the science and technology behind the devices.
It’s Time to Take a New Look at Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy (RT) has been used as a safe and effective treatment option for patients with cancer for more than a century. Like any cancer therapy, it does carry risks and side effects, but RT has improved drastically over the past 20 years and has even been shown to enhance the effectiveness of immunotherapy.
Family Risk Factors May Indicate Need for Genetics Counseling Referrals
Genetics testing is not just about one family member; the results have implications for an entire family. Results of genetic testing can be confusing, and families often need assistance understanding what it means for them. Genetics counseling before and after testing is very important to help individuals and families understand the results of genetic testing when they are received and over time.
CMS Grants Waivers to Providers During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
In emergencies such as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, government health agencies have the authority to grant waivers for various federal health programs. Starting on March 23, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) waived certain requirements and protocols for providers and beneficiaries.
Healthcare Leaders Release Open Letter on Coronavirus; Nurses Share Realities of COVID; Hospitals Use Telemedicine Amid Pandemic
A day after President Donald Trump was considering lifting some of the quarantine mandates, healthcare leaders from the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association (ANA) released an open letter urging Americans to stay home.
Nurses Must Understand Health Disparities to Provide Effective Patient Education
Issues pertaining to geography, socioeconomic status, or racial or ethnic background can prohibit patients from accessing the treatment and care they need to successfully navigate their cancer diagnosis. Connecting patients to healthcare professionals and tailored interventions that educate, motivate, and reduce barriers can be a tremendous boon for their care and ultimately their outcomes.
Oral Chemo Education Sheets Provide Key Information to Patients
Oral oncolytics have introduced a different level of complexity to care. Many patients won’t ever receive their treatments in the infusion room, which is where nurses have traditionally offered in-depth patient education. Instead, nurses are using new tools—like the Oral Chemo Education Sheets—to ensure patients have the information they need to understand their treatment and its side effects.
New Patient Education Formats Help Nurses Connect Patients to Individualized Resources
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” Benjamin Franklin wrote. for oncology nurses and their patients, this couldn’t be more apt. Patient education is critical throughout the cancer journey, and nurses are essential to individualizing that education.
Patient Education Is Critical to Managing irAEs for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
By rebalancing the immune system and re-engaging mechanisms that tumor cells have shut off, immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint inhibitors enable patients’ own bodies to fight their cancers for them. But those same mechanisms can also result in immune-related adverse events (irAEs).
CDC’s Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Virtual Program Helps Patients Understand the Disease
Unlike other types of breast cancer, a triple-negative diagnosis doesn’t have any of the common receptors found in other breast cancers, presenting potential treatment challenges to patients and providers. To assist patients with triple-negative breast cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a new virtual program, allowing patients to consult and ask questions to a virtual coach in the comfort of their own homes.
New Genetics Service Delivery Models Help Patients Access Genetic Counseling
As genetic and genomic testing become more common—and complex—in cancer diagnosis and treatment decisions, more efficient and accessible ways of providing comprehensive genetic care are needed. In their article in the February 2019 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, Pierle and Mahon discussed the findings from their literature review, specifically pertaining to genetics care services across the cancer continuum, patient and system barriers to accessing care, new service delivery models, and oncology nurses’ role in providing comprehensive cancer genetics care services.
Education and Support Are Vital for Patients Undergoing Radiation Therapy
Oncology nurses are a vital source of education and support for patients undergoing radiation therapy, enabling patients to complete therapy and minimize side effects, Richard L.S. Jennelle, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said during a session on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the ONS 44th Annual Congress in Anaheim, CA.
Which of the Following Should Not Be Recommended to Patients Taking Oral Antineoplastic Medication at Home?
Which of the Following Should Not Be Recommended to Patients Taking Oral Antineoplastic Medication at Home?
A. Handwashing before and after handling the medication is important.
B. Use a urinal or bedpan instead of a toilet to reduce the risk of contamination via body fluids.
C. Keep oral antineoplastic drugs separate from other medications.
D. Do not touch tablets or capsules with bare hands; wear disposable gloves.
What Is the APRN’s Role in Managing Patients Receiving Targeted Therapy?
Targeted therapies block the growth of cancer by interfering with specific molecules and may also be referred to as molecularly targeted drugs or precision oncology. Advanced practice RNs (APRNs) must be familiar with the various agents and their side effect profiles, including immunotherapies, hormone therapies, apoptosis inducers, monoclonal antibodies, angiogenesis inhibitors, and signal transduction inhibitors.
Educational Workshop Improves Patient-Perceived Knowledge About Their Disease
Patient education can improve interactions with their healthcare team and provide coping mechanisms for the psychosocial effects of metastatic breast cancer, according to study findings presented at the .
Tailored Education Improves Patient Satisfaction and Comprehension
Throughout the course of treatment, patients with breast cancer receive a significant amounts of information from their healthcare team. Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine assessed and revamped the educational materials from the facility’s Memorial Radiation Oncology Department to achieve a patient comprehension of key treatment-related concepts of 75%. They found that although some educational concepts remained unmemorable or improperly emphasized, overall trends in comprehension indicated that a patient-tailored approach led to better satisfaction and outcomes, according to the findings presented at the .
Care Coordination Standardizes Monitoring for Patients Prescribed Oral Cancer Agents
Use of oral therapies requires healthcare teams to monitor patients for issues such as unreported side effects, medication nonadherence, and incorrect administration of medications. Although many patients do very well with this form of treatment, some patients, even with a significant amount of education before starting therapy, may have challenges.
The Case of the Coercive Consent
Betty, age 70, was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer and started treatment with FOLFOX. Her medical oncologist changed the treatment to capcitabine after Betty developed grade 3 peripheral neuropathy. Because of disease progression, bevacizumab was added to her treatment plan. She lives with her daughter, is insured by Medicare, and receives $800 per month from Social Security.
Nurse Management of cGVHD in Patients on Ibrutinib Focuses on Education
Ibrutinib is a first-in-class, once-daily inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ibrutinib for the treatment of adult patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) after failure of one or more lines of systemic therapy.
Trump Officials Considering Cuts to Obamacare Outreach Groups; Those Who Don't Qualify for Government Aid Aren't Buying Obamacare Plans; Judge Blocks Kentucky Medicaid Work Requirement Hours Before Implementation
An initial proposal from the Trump administration might cut funds for outreach related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As of yet no decisions are finalized and funding may still remain consistent, but limiting funding for outreach of the ACA, known to most as Obamacare, isn't a new move for the current administration. In 2017, it cut funding for navigators who educated and enrolled Americans in the ACA marketplace, leading to confusion among potential applicants and lower enrollment numbers. If funding is cut again this year, new or returning enrollees are unlikely to find success when looking for coverage.
BRCA Mutations Point to Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome
Although all cancers have a genetic basis, a subset result from an inherited (i.e., germline) mutation that puts a person at increased risk for certain cancers. Unfortunately, the signs of hereditary cancer are often overlooked or misunderstood. Here’s what oncology nurses need to know about BRCA mutations, one of the more common mutations you’ll see in practice.
FDA Authorizes Direct-to-Consumer Test for BRCA Cancer Gene
Genetic testing is becoming more recognized among the general public, due in part to news reports and celebrity endorsements. Now, people are seeking to understand cancer risks and prevention measures through genetic information. There are many companies that ask for a mere mouth swab and deliver insight into a person’s DNA. As this becomes more commonplace, those with familial predisposition to cancer will look for ways to understand their own genetic results. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an at-home test identifying some—but not all—breast cancer genes.
Oncology Nurses Play Key Role in Genetics Education, Testing for Patients
Identifying genetically predisposed women with breast cancer who could benefit from risk assessment and genetic counseling is an important competency for oncology nurses. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) reported that fewer than 50% of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer who should have been given formal genetic counseling actually received the appropriate genetic testing.
Oncology Nurses Can Help Patients Understand At-Home Genetic Testing
Direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTCGT) has entered the prime-time stage. It’s difficult to watch TV without seeing ads touting the simplicity of DTCGT and what it can tell you, and it even made Oprah’s 2017 Favorite Things List.
CDC Offers Insight on Common Cancer Questions
To ensure more Americans understand the public health implications of cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking an active role in creating awareness activities. By posting commonly asked questions, the CDC hopes to demystify cancer and its treatment to the uninitiated, while also helping survivors and caregivers better comprehend the cancer journey.
What You and Your Patients Should Know About the Flu This Season
As an oncology nurse, you know the prevention of any infection is critical to patients. This couldn’t be truer than with flu. Although not all illnesses are preventable, the flu vaccine is the first and best way that patients with cancer can protect themselves from flu. Oncology nurses should keep the following new information for the 2017–2018 flu season in mind.
PCORI Helps Patients Choose the Right Breast Cancer Treatment
Many women face a lack of information and understanding after their breast cancer diagnoses. Currently, women have more treatment options than ever before, and patients have the ability to review the latest findings to identify the option that fits best for their lives.
What Precautions and Recommendations Are Necessary for Patients Receiving Oral Chemotherapy in the Home?
So far, 2017 has seen an incredible amount of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for new agents and indications. Biotherapy and targeted agents represent many of the newly approved treatment options—a great deal of which are offered in oral form, increasing the opportunity for patients to receive treatment at home.
Are Your Patients Taking Herbs That May Interact With Their Cancer Drugs?
Many Americans use dietary supplements, including herbal products, in the belief that they are natural and safe. Patients with cancer use them often to enhance the effects or to reduce the adverse reactions of cancer treatments. However, few herbs have been thoroughly studied in humans. Therefore, their interactions with prescription drugs and the clinical relevance, remain undetermined. These interactions could be pharmacokinetic in nature when an herb alters the absorption, metabolism, or excretion of other drugs, or pharmacodynamic in which it affects the mechanism of action of other drugs when consumed together. Following are a few relevant herb-drug interactions encountered in the oncology setting.
Patient-Provider Communication on Immunotherapy Can Be Improved
Guidelines regarding healthcare provider communication about immunotherapy do not currently exist. Researchers sought to determine patient and provider preferences for this type of information and to identify barriers to communication about immunotherapy. The study’s findings were presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
The Case of the Immunotherapy Inquiry, Part II
You may remember Jay, a 62-year-old man with inoperable stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), from the case study in the April 2017 issue of ONS Voice. He was symptomatic with a persistent cough, unintentional weight loss, and fatigue.
ACA Could Potentially Become Expanded Medicaid; Smoking More Prevalent in Low Socioeconomic Individuals; Provider, Patient Communication Still Needs Improvement
In Washington, DC, the healthcare debate rages on. Currently, Republican senators are working behind closed doors to modify and change the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). As it stands, the AHCA is the replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known to most Americans as Obamacare. While legislators continue to debate in Washington, the insurance marketplace carries on. United Healthcare recently announced its departure from the ACA’s marketplace exchange, another in list of insurance companies that have chosen to leave.
FDA Issues Warnings to Fraudulent Cancer Treatment Companies
On April 25, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to 14 companies that were selling fraudulently marketed products claiming to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer. In total, the companies produced more than 65 products that have been sold in the United States without FDA approval.
Cervical Cancer Awareness and Education Saves Lives
January was cervical health awareness month, and the federal government, along with many advocacy groups, spent considerable time talking about early detection. According to the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cervical cancer is largely preventable. If it’s detected early, it’s often curable too. Many experts say that the key to cervical cancer is vaccination and embracing the two tests used for early detection—Pap smears and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing.