Oncology Clinical Social Workers Add Layers of Support for Patients and Families During CAR T-Cell Therapy
The interprofessional team for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven includes a transplant team, cell collection and processing unit, intensive care unit, pharmacy, telehealth for home evaluations, and social work. On that team, the oncology clinical social worker’s role is chiefly to help patients and families manage the stress associated with therapy. We provide patients and family members with ongoing clinical social work support, including listening, counseling, educating, advocating, and referring them to resources and services.
Anxiety and Depression Are Biggest Concerns for Patients With Cancer, Survivors, Caregivers
As many as 49% of patients with cancer are at risk for clinically significant levels of anxiety and 38% are at risk for clinically significant levels of depression, according to data collected through the Cancer Support Community’s (CSC’s) cancer experience registry. Additionally, nearly half of caregivers have anxiety levels that are substantially higher than the national average and one-third face substantially higher fatigue and depression levels. Nationally, the rates for levels of anxiety and depression are 19.1% of U.S. adults aged 18 and older and 8.4% of U.S. adults aged 18 and older, respectively.
Patients Cope With Intense Emotions After Clinical Trial Withdrawal
When withdrawing from a clinical trial, patients experience a spectrum of emotions ranging from regret, urgency, frustration—and trust in their healthcare professionals, like oncology nurses, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Network Open.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds ACA Again
After a decade and three legal challenges that culminated in another U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ([ACA], commonly known as Obamacare) is currently established canon. On June 17, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in favor of the defendants in the case of California et al. v. Texas et al., maintaining ACA’s constitutionality. It was a firm 7-2 decision.
The Case of the Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Targeted Treatment
Ophelia is a 42-year-old patient who has been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). She completed neoadjuvant chemotherapy with dose-dense doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, followed by paclitaxel and carboplatin. Her postsurgical pathology shows residual disease in the tumor (3.5 cm down from 4 cm) and 12 out of 18 lymph nodes that are positive for cancer. Ophelia tells you that she is very discouraged and expected a better treatment outcome.
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.
Patient-Advocacy-Provider Partnerships and Networks Support Rare Cancer Research
My area of research focus is adults with primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, which represent less than 2% of all diagnosed cancers. Because of the cancers’ rarity, access to diagnosed patients for research initiatives is limited. My team’s program, NCI-CONNECT, a part of the Rare Tumor Patient Engagement Network supported by the Cancer Moonshot, is advancing our understanding of adults with rare CNS cancers by establishing patient-advocacy-provider partnerships and networks to improve care and treatment approaches.
The Time Is Now to Address Racial Disparities in Oncology Symptom Science
Although cancer mortality in the United States has decreased in most populations, non-Whites still have a disproportionately higher risk, and recent events have raised awareness of racial healthcare disparities. During a session on April 29, 2021, for the ONS 46th Annual Congress™, Margaret Quinn Rosenzweig, PhD, FNP-BC, AOCNP®, FAAN, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Susan G. Dorsey, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and Angela Starkweather, PhD, ACNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, of the University of Connecticut School of Nursing and School of Medicine, explored the application of the symptom science model to address the needs of underrepresented patients.
The Case of the Transgender Considerations for Cancer Screening
Sally, a nurse practitioner in a cancer survivorship clinic, is preparing to discuss screening and surveillance guidelines with Jonah, a 32-year-old survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma. Sally reviews Jonah’s patient history form and notes that Jonah uses he and him pronouns. His gender identity is male and sex assigned at birth was female. Jonah’s surgical history includes gender-affirming surgery on chest tissue (also known as top surgery), and his current medications include supplemental testosterone. Jonah also specifies that he is transmasculine—an umbrella term used to indicate that Jonah feels a connection with masculinity.
Fear of Recurrence May Actually Contribute to Cancer Recurrence
Stress, such as fear and worry about cancer coming back or many other life burdens and concerns, may activate dormant cancer cells remaining in the body to form tumors again, researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine.
COVID-19’s Implications for People With Cancer and Oncology Nurses
Since the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11, 2020, the COVID-19 coronavirus—the greatest global public health emergency in a century—has disrupted or delayed many aspects of life, including cancer care. But it’s also opened new opportunities for nursing innovation and brought much-needed change to health care. Here’s where we are one year later.
How to Manage Survivor Guilt During a Pandemic
Pandemics have a tremendous impact on societies and individuals alike. From incidence rates to death tolls, financial hardship to job loss, and anxiety to isolation, we’ve all been affected in one way or another—although some much more than others.
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.
Always Search for Ways to Connect With Patients
While working in a palliative care clinic, I developed a connection with one of my patients through an unexpected medium: word search puzzles. She was doing one the first time I entered her exam room, so I introduced myself and asked if it was a difficult one.
Digital Sherpas Enhance Nursing Care, Patient Quality of Life
Technology is great when you get it. But when you don’t, it can be a real burden, and an extra burden is the last thing a patient with cancer needs. Fortunately, at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, we’ve found a program that not only helps our nurses and our patients with technology, but it also brings our older patient population together with the positive energy of younger members.
Cancer Rehabilitation Serves a Critical Role in Patient Care
More and more providers are recognizing that prehabilitation and rehabilitation are key components of successful patient-centered cancer care. Oncology nurses serve as a critical access point to those services and must understand rehabilitation and its indications. To better highlight cancer rehabilitation’s benefits and importance in clinical practice, ONS members Grace Campbell, PhD, MSW, RN, CNL, CRRN, and Beverly Reigle, PhD, RN, shared a conversation about the finer points of cancer rehabilitation specialty practice.
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.
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.
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.
Social Support May Play a Role in Treatment Adherence
Many women discontinue adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET) because of adverse events (AEs), and only half remain adherent at five years. Researchers from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, found that continued social support for those women may improve AET adherence. They presented the findings at the .
The Case of the Emotional Emergency
Sharon, age 40, was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. Pathologically, her tumor was grade I, estrogen- and progesterone-receptor positive, and HER2 negative. The mass measured 0.5 cm on ultrasound. Sharon has no family history of cancer and is devastated by the diagnosis. One of her close friends recently died from metastatic breast cancer, and she is certain will have the same fate. She tells Jennifer, an RN in the breast center, that she is going home to “get her affairs in order.”
Nutritional Support Reduces Weight Loss for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer
As many as 50% of patients with head and neck cancer experience pretreatment weight loss. In addition, treatment frequently involves chemotherapy and radiation, which can also result in weight loss, as well as mucositis and dysphagia, which can affect patients’ ability to eat. This could lead to treatment delays that may impact treatment efficacy.
CMS Administrator Shares Three Points to Bolster Medicaid
During a recent speech at the 2018 Medicaid Management Care Summit, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma expressed a continued commitment to Medicaid’s legacy of supporting Americans in need.
How Patients Can Benefit From Hereditary Cancer Support
My story, like many of your patients, is unfortunately not that uncommon: I’m a motherless daughter. I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 26 years old; she lost her mother to the disease before she graduated high school. The BRCA1 mutation has been passed down in my family, and I, too, carry the mutation. Even though it was expected, I was devastated and desperately looking for resources to help manage my cancer risk. It was scary not knowing where to turn. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone.
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.
How Are You Supporting Survivors Through EMR-Integrated Survivorship Care Plans?
Incorporating survivorship care plans into a hospital’s electronic medical records (EMRs) can be a tremendous aid for oncology nurses supporting their patients entering survivorship. Using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network treatment guidelines as a template for care, the oncology team can prepare a patient’s medical record with the necessary individualized information.
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 Oncology Nurses Can Support Childhood Cancer Survivors
More than 13,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States. Because treatment options continue to improve, more than 80% of those children will survive at least five years after their diagnosis.
Expressive Writing Can Help Patients Understand and Process Their Cancer Diagnosis
Writing images from one’s memory and imagination can be a healing act. According to a recent study on expressive writing and patients with cancer, some individuals may benefit from participating in expressive writing as part of their supportive cancer treatment. The writing act can be a form of healing for patients struggling with their cancer diagnoses.
Supportive Care Programs for Patients With Cancer
Focusing on a patient’s quality of life is often a key component to their successful cancer journey. Treating their disease is crucial, but patients have to be recognized as individuals with unique and varying needs. Addressing their emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychosocial stressors can help provide holistic treatment that’s at the heart of successful oncology care.
Lay Patient Navigators May Provide a Solution for an Overworked Nursing Climate
With the growing demand for cancer services and a shrinking workforce, new ideas and innovative approaches are needed. During a session at the Oncology Nurse Advisor Navigation Summit, ONS member Jean B. Sellers, RN, MSN, administrative clinical director at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill, discussed the current landscape and future of navigation services.