Don’t Ask Patients About Their Symptoms—Have Them Tell You
“How are you doing?” We ask this question of our patients repeatedly: at diagnosis, during treatment, throughout survivorship, and at end of life. However, studies show that patients often give inaccurate answers to that direct question.
Social and Economic Factors Have a Bigger Influence on Health Outcomes Than Clinical Care
Between 10%–20% of health outcomes are a direct result of clinical care, whereas 40% are attributed to social and economic factors such as education, employment, income, family and social support, and community safety, speakers said during a session for the 46th Annual ONS Congress™ on April 20, 2021. The remaining 40%–50% correlate with health behaviors, physical environment, and genes and biology, they said.
Radiation Clinical Trials Must Evolve to Include Patient-Reported Outcomes
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers treated with radiotherapy (RT). Conventional RT for low-risk patients usually involves 40–45 treatments given over eight or nine weeks. Several studies suggest that hypofractionated RT—fewer treatments but with a higher dose per treatment—may produce a similar survival benefit. When two treatments have similar survival outcomes, the decision process looks at symptom profiles, quality of life, and cost.
Oncology Symptom Science Research Needs to Focus on New Therapies
Immunotherapy, emerging therapies, precision health, and biosignatures are the next frontier for oncology symptom science research, specifically patient-reported outcomes and immune-related adverse events, researchers reported during a presentation on September 8, 2020, at the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference.
Early Use of Immunotherapy Has Better Outcomes for Bladder Cancer
Starting immunotherapy for bladder cancer shortly after initial treatment with chemotherapy is better than taking an extended break from cancer treatment, according to results from a study reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.
FDA Program Shares PROs From Cancer Clinical Trials
Cancer clinical trials often collect patient-reported outcome (PRO) data, but the information is generally used just for that trial. Recognizing the value of making it available to healthcare providers everywhere, in July 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched Project Patient Voice, a pilot program designed to share clinical trial PROs on an easy-to-access website.
FDA Launches Pilot Program on Patient-Reported Outcomes
Facilitating the provision of patient-centered care is an ONS priority. But until recently, quality information from the patient’s perspective was limited. This kind of information is often unavailable, limited in its breadth, or solicited from patients too late in the healthcare process, making their experience less understandable than necessary. In response, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Oncology Center of Excellence created a pilot program, called Project Patient Voice, that will make patient-reported symptoms from cancer trials available to the public.
Dietary Supplements May Affect Breast Cancer Chemo Outcomes
Antioxidant supplements are associated with increased disease recurrence and statistically nonsignificant increased risk of mortality in patients with breast cancer who were receiving cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and paclitaxel, according to findings from a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Patients Rank the Importance of PRO Measures Differently
Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) can improve patient satisfaction and potentially impact survival. However, PRO data are not well-collected outside of the research setting. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, conducting qualitative study assessed the most personally relevant PROs in women with metastatic breast cancer and observed substantial variation in patient preferences. They presented the findings at the .
How Is CTCAE Improving Research and Patient Care?
The Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) is a list of adverse event (AE) terms most often encountered in oncology. It’s been in ongoing development since the 1980s and was previously referred to as the Common Toxicity Criteria. Through continual development and support from the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, CTCAE aids in the documentation and analysis of adverse events in oncology-related clinical trials.
Nurses Are Advancing Research in Data-Powered Science
Nurses can foster data-powered health through getting involved in research and ensuring that data collection is in patients’ best interest and accessible to all. Patricia Brennan, PhD, RN, director of the National Library of Medicine, and Suzanne Bakken, PhD, RN, FAAN, a professor at Columbia University, discussed how data can empower health and what nurses can do to advance research during a session at the 43rd Annual Congress in Washington, DC.
Activity Tracker Data Correlates With Patient-Reported Outcomes
Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are an important part of patient management but may be burdensome for patients to track. Wearable activity monitors provide objective, continuous activity data that may correlate with PROs, and researchers assessed the use of this technology in a study. Carrie A. Thompson, MD, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
What Does the Evidence Show About Patient-Reported Outcomes, Quality of Life, and Survival?
Patients know their own experiences best. Evidence has shown that providers are unaware of about half of patients’ symptoms during cancer care. When patients directly report their symptoms using online questionnaires, it can help close this gap in communication. Bringing the patient voice into practice using patient-reported outcomes (PROs) can not only make us aware of their symptoms—enabling earlier interventions—but can also make care delivery more patient-centered.
Improving Cancer Care Through Patient-Reported Outcomes
Technology can—at times—seem miraculous, especially as it evolves in healthcare settings. Simple technologic tools have been able to lower costs, increase efficiency, minimize delays in treatment times, and even provide new, lifesaving procedures for cancer treatment.
Adverse Events Influence Patient-Reported Quality-of-Life Scores
Researchers conducted a single-center, cross-sectional study to examine the relationship between patient-reported quality-of-life (QOL), adverse events (AEs), and treatment characteristics (including tumor type, drug class, number of cycles, and treatment intent). The study’s findings were presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
Discussion About Goals of Care May Improve Patient Understanding
Discussing goals of care with patients with advanced cancer can provide better information on the disease, treatment options, and prognosis, as well as elicit patient values. A randomized, controlled trial tested a coaching model to improve healthcare providers’ communication on goals of care. The study’s findings were presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
Patient-Reported Tool to Evaluate Distress Predicts Survival
The Living With Cancer (LWC) patient-reported outcome (PRO) tool evaluates distress in patients with advanced cancer using a seven-item Likert survey to measure performance status, pain, burden (financial and family), and depression, with scores ranging from 0–112.
Using Patient-Reported Outcomes Improves Symptoms in Adults With Acute Leukemia
Ashley Bryant, PhD, RN, OCN®, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, was the recipient of the 2017 Victoria Mock New Investigator Award and gave a lecture at the 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO, on her work on patient-reported symptoms and quality of life.