Teleoncology Addresses Health Disparities With High Satisfaction for Patients and Providers, NCI Shares
Virtual appointments and other telehealth care allow patients and families to have ready access to cancer care from the comfort of their own home, Kevin M. Curtis, MD, medical director of the Center for Telehealth at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, said in a March 2022 National Cancer Institute (NCI) blog post praising the service. Curtis also highlighted telehealth’s role in addressing health disparities, its high satisfaction rate with both patients and clinicians, and the service’s future in cancer care research.
CDC Emphasizes Importance of Cancer Screenings During COVID-19
“Cancer doesn’t wait, and neither should you,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged patients in its new cancer screening adherence campaign. The COVID-19 pandemic has created barriers to regular health visits, screenings, and treatment for individuals everywhere, and providers and organizations alike are seeking solutions.
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.
CMS Expands Eligibility Criteria for Lung Cancer Screening With Low-Dose Computed Tomography
More Medicare beneficiaries now meet age, smoking history, and other criteria for lung cancer screening and are now eligible to receive low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), according to a February 2022 memo from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: PALB2
PALB2 refers to partner and localizer of BRCA2. The gene was isolated in 2007 and is the third most common gene associated with breast cancer risk. Both men and women are at increased risk for developing multiple cancers if they have a pathogenic PALB2 variant (see sidebar).
Families See Increase in Healthcare Premiums, Increase in Covered Services
Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums increased by 4% for families in 2021, bringing the average annual cost to $22,221 per family, according to the results of a benchmark Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Employer Health Benefits survey released in November 2021. KFF also assessed the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on workplace health benefits, including telemedicine and mental health services.
Oncology Nurses Share Successes and Challenges Adapting to Telehealth During COVID-19
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has forced healthcare providers to make unprecedented adjustments to patient care, including the pivot to telehealth. At a series of virtual events from October 2020–March 2021, ONS members shared their challenges, successes, and future needs to permanently adopt virtual cancer care visits.
Telehealth Has Value During Radiotherapy, Patients Say
More than 90% of patients report that telehealth consultations during radiotherapy treatment are high quality and may be even better for understanding information from their healthcare team than in-person visits, researchers reported in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
The Case of the Clinical Trials Consultation
Don, age 72, was diagnosed with borderline resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma more than a year ago. Genetic testing indicated a BRCA2 variant. He completed 12 cycles of FOLFIRINOX followed by a pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure). He had no evidence of disease for six months until a liver lesion seen on surveillance imaging tested positive for metastatic pancreatic cancer. His medical oncologist suggests a clinical trial targeting the BRCA2 variant.
HHS Secretary Becerra Announces New Overdose Prevention Strategy
Preventing overdoses—from any substance, but particularly opioids—is an urgent need during the U.S. opioid epidemic that involves a four-step process: prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announcedHHS released a new overdose prevention strategy in October 2021 to increase access to services for patients and their families who use substances that can put them at risk for overdose.
Use ClinicalTrials.gov to Find the Right Cancer Research Studies for Your Patients
Among the many online resources for identifying cancer clinical trials, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), NCI-designated cancer centers or academic cancer centers, and drug and biotechnology companies, ClinicalTrials.gov may be the most comprehensive as a one-stop shop for patients and providers to find publicly and privately supported trials for patients.
Not Eligible for Trials? Expanded Access May Give Patients Options for Investigational Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) expanded access program is a pathway for providers to request using an investigational medical product to treat a patient with an immediately life-threatening or serious disease or condition outside of clinical trials when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available. FDA’s Project Facilitate, a comprehensive program within FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, makes the pathway more accessible by assisting oncology healthcare professionals in submitting single-patient oncology expanded access applications.
Nursing Roles in Clinical Trials
Clinical trials provide evidence to support what you do in your work as a nurse every day. They are tools to discover new therapies and identify side effects while considering patient-specific factors like age, comorbidities, race, and sex. They build support for best practices in treatment and patient care.
CDC Releases Video Series About Gynecologic Cancers
Multimedia tools and resources can help patients learn more about a cancer diagnosis, treatment regimens, procedures, and follow-up care, among other important topics, and many institutions and organizations have jumped onto the bandwagon to create those resources for their patients. A new video series on gynecologic cancers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds another patient education resource to oncology nurses’ toolbox.
The Case of the End-of-Life Evaluation
Ron, your 73-year-old patient, decides to transition to hospice care after receiving lung cancer treatment for three years. His partner finds Ron’s decision to move to hospice difficult to accept and encourages him to look for a clinical trial or try alternative treatments. You suggest that the couple speaks with a hospital chaplain, and Ron agrees. His surprised partner says, “Why do you want to talk with a chaplain? We’ve never been religious!”
Engagement Projects Help Patients Manage Stress and Anxiety
Patients reported lower levels of pain and stress after participating in virtual reality and art therapy programs, according to presenters sharing findings from two different pilot projects during the ONS BridgeTM virtual conference on September 14, 2021.
Rare Cancer Advocacy Programs Help Patients Discover Resources and Make Connections
A cancer diagnosis can be difficult for any patient to receive, but a rare cancer diagnosis can put additional stress on a patient and their family. They may feel isolated and struggle to find accurate information on their diagnosis, which may be minimal because of limited funding and research. Rare cancer advocacy groups and programs offer critical patient support and empowerment, raise awareness, and initiate research for treatments.
U.S. Surgeon General Issues Report on Dangers of Health Misinformation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In today’s digital age of news, the public often struggles to decipher real science from misleading or incorrect information—and the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has only magnified the situation. Seeing a detrimental impact to the health of the nation, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, issued his first advisory report of the Biden administration on the topic of misinformation in public health.
Cancer Support Groups Help Patients Develop Critical Connections
Many patients with cancer have supportive friends and family. However, loved ones might be uncomfortable discussing the difficult feelings that arise from a cancer diagnosis and may be afraid or unsure of what to say or do. In a support group, members are open to talking about these difficult topics and patients can feel reassured that they are in a safe space to process the array of thoughts and feelings that come with a cancer diagnosis.
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.
NCI Appoints New Director for Office of Cancer Survivorship
Until recently, past ONS President Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, served as interim director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Office of Cancer Survivorship, a part of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. As an oncology nurse, Mayer brought a special perspective to the office’s mission to better understand and meet the unique needs of the growing number of U.S. cancer survivors.
CDC’s Virtual Simulation Guides Patients With Prostate Cancer From Screening to Treatment
Nurses can now navigate patients with prostate cancer to a virtual simulation for guidance on all aspects of the disease, from screening to treatment. Plus, providers can interact with Nathan, the simulation avatar, in a clinical encounter to help improve their consultation skills when discussing screening and treatment decisions with men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released this resource after launching its popular simulation for patients with breast cancer.
Global Cancer Cases Could Increase 60% in Next 20 Years
If current trends continue, the world will see a 60% increase in cancer diagnoses through 2040, the World Health Organization said in its February 2020 Report on Cancer: Setting Priorities, Investing Wisely, and Providing Care for All.
Smoking Rates Are Low, But Here’s How They Can Be Lower
Although U.S. smoking rates have hit an all-time low of 14%, 34 million American adults are still considered active smokers, according to the U.S. surgeon general’s January 2020 report on smoking cessation. It’s the first new report focused directly on smoking cessation from the surgeon general’s office in 30 years.
AHRQ Releases Free Resources to Engage Patients, Families in Care
One constant in nursing practice is time and how nurses never have enough of it. Between a full schedule of patient visits, consulting with coworkers, administering treatments, and the myriad other responsibilities filling a nurse’s day, nurses can struggle to address all of a patient's concerns in the time leftover. Nurses must be adept at balancing their time and multitasking in their duties.
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).
Uplift Young Adult Patients by Sharing Resources
Dylan sat on the plastic chair with his elbows rested on his knees, staring blankly at the white tile floor in the clinic exam room. He was listening to me talk about the side effects of chemotherapy, but I could tell he had more on his mind. He lifted his head and touched his red baseball cap with his left hand.
“This is a lot to take in,” he said in a befuddled tone.
How Can Oncology Nurses Support Surgical Patients With Esophageal Cancer?
In 2000, I was diagnosed with stage III esophageal cancer—adenocarcinoma—and was put on a treatment regimen of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and ultimately surgery to my esophagus. After talking with my doctors and nurses, heartburn was determined to be the cause of cancer. I didn’t realize at the time that survival rates for my disease were extremely low.
CDC Offers Insights and Resources for Cancer Survivorship
Cancer prevention is a full-time job, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works around the clock to raise awareness and promote necessary early detection and screening methods. Cancer survivors are a unique subset of patients and require information that’s been individualized to the survivorship experience.
Active Support Group Creates Community for AYAs With Cancer
Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can strike anyone at any time. Being told that you have cancer can be a frightening experience, and feelings of loneliness and isolation are not uncommon, especially for young adults with cancer.
How Aromatherapy With Essential Oils May Help Patients With Cancer
Aromatherapy has grown in popularity over the past few decades for improving sleep and mood and for reducing anxiety, but its first use dates back more than 5,000 years. The practice involves using essential (aromatic) oils, derived typically from steam distillation of plants, through application to the skin as a component of therapeutic massage or inhalation with vaporizers, inhalers, or hot water baths.
Prevent Colorectal Cancer Through Screening
Of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading killer in the United States. In 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 139,992 people in the United States were diagnosed with CRC and 51,651 people died from it. Oncology nurses know that screening tests allow for healthcare providers to remove polyps before they become cancer or identify CRC in its earliest, most treatable stages. Clearly, screening is key to preventing CRC, most insurance plans cover screening, and patients now have more screening test options than ever. So why is CRC still so common? Why do people we know and care about still get this disease?
Meditation Has Many Benefits for Patients With Cancer
Meditation is a healing practice that involves focusing attention, regulating breathing, and developing a nonjudgmental awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings. It aims to improve emotional regulation and overall well-being. Data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey indicate that 18 million adults and 927,000 children practice meditation. Meditation encompasses repeating words with phonetic significance as in mantram meditation; paying attention or continually returning to the present moment as in mindfulness meditation; or practicing specific movements as in tai chi and qigong.
Oncology Nurses Champion Tobacco Cessation Programs
Twenty-five years ago, you could be flying at 39,000 feet and still be inhaling cigarette smoke. Smoking’s pervasiveness in U.S. culture was far and wide, and it wasn’t until cancer research findings—coupled with public policy and healthcare education—that the dangers of smoking caught on with the general public. Since then, smoking rates have declined.
New Web Tool Seeks to Advise Cancer Survivors on Managing Health
In a joint venture between the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), a new web tool aims to provide better understanding for cancer survivors’ treatment options and what happens to them when treatment is over. The initiative, Springboard Beyond Cancer, is meant to empower survivors by providing them when education and resources about living beyond their cancer diagnosis. Springboard Beyond Cancer aims to address the following survivorship issues for patients.
Help Your Patients Find Financial Resources
The financial burden associated with cancer treatment is reaching new heights. In the heat of making decisions, patients and their families may drastically deplete their finances to reap the advantage a new drug may offer.