Mind-Body Approaches Help Patients Manage Cancer-Related Distress—and Nurses Can Use Them, Too
A reported 22%–58% of patients with cancer experience distress that can occur at any point along the clinical course, and it can interfere with their ability to cope well with cancer, its physical symptoms, and treatment. Oncology nurses can teach patients about mind-body approaches such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), and mindfulness to help self-manage distress and guide them to resources for mind-body practices.
Trauma-Informed Care Provides Person-Centered Support for Patients During Deep Distress
When we use the term “trauma,” we’re often referring to experiences like war, being attacked or assaulted, or witnessing a terrible tragedy. However, other traumas can be just as harmful. Patients with cancer may have experienced multiple kinds of trauma throughout their lives, which can contribute to myriad challenges such as chronic health problems, mental illness, and difficulty seeking care.
Psychosocial Support for Patients With Cancer During COVID-19
When the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, in a matter of days clinicians were scrambling to find novel ways to screen, triage, and provide telehealth interventions to protect patients with chronic conditions who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. As nurses, we are accustomed to helping patients in crisis acclimate to a changing environment, process large amounts of information, and have their psychosocial needs met.
CDC Offers Insight to Mental Health and Cancer
As health care advances, so too does our understanding about the numerous conditions affecting patients, including their mental health and well-being. Messaging from federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about mental health is taking an inclusive, wholistic approach to the many aspects of mental health. CDC presented new educational applications for providers to consider when talking to their patients about mental well-being and their continued success in treatment.
Innovative Technology Improves Provider Education on Distress Management for Cancer Survivors
Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and cognitive difficulties are just some mental health concerns that can affect cancer survivors: those living with, through, and beyond a cancer diagnosis. As many as three out of every four cancer survivors can experience acute or chronic symptoms of psychological distress, which can negatively affect quality of life, engagement in follow-up care, and health outcomes.
Joint Commission Focuses on Quality, Safety for 2019
As part of its ongoing work “to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value,” the Joint Commission hosts an annual Health Care Association Forum to educate associations about the commission’s latest initiatives and goals. Here are the outcomes that affect nursing practice in 2019.
Patient Stress Linked to More Advanced Leukemia
Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who experience more stress also have more cancer cells in their blood and elevated levels of three other advanced disease markers, according to results of a study published in Cancer. It is the first study to link stress with biologic disease markers in patients with CLL.
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.”
Psychosocial Support May Reduce Stigma for Patients With Lung Cancer
Because of the relationship between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, patients who receive a lung cancer diagnosis may feel judgment compared to patients with other cancer diagnoses, which could affect social interactions between family, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. Perceived lung cancer stigma can lead to depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, guilt, shame, blame, poor social identity, and reduced social support. A recent study indicated that lung cancer stigma might be behind the low lung cancer screening rates among high-risk smokers.
Tailored Psychotherapy Combats Depression in Advanced Cancer
Just three to six sessions of a tailored psychotherapy program called CALM, or Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully, reduced symptoms of depression or prevented the onset of depression in patients with recently diagnosed advanced cancer, according to findings from a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The Case of the Pain Paradox: Follow-Up and Clinical Trial
The January 2018 case study introduced Vince, a 55-year-old man receiving chemotherapy and radiation for recurrent bladder cancer. He suffers from chronic back pain because of spinal stenosis and has been on opioid therapy for nearly two years.
Evidence Shows How Music Therapy Can Affect Patients With Cancer
Music has historically been associated with health and healing in cultures around the world. As a therapeutic intervention in patients with cancer, it is used to address physical and psychological symptoms. The sessions are tailored to meet patients’ individual needs and abilities and can involve listening to, writing, performing, or discussing music and lyrics, guided by a trained therapist. Although music does not affect the disease itself, it produces more immediate effects compared to pharmacologic agents, has a positive impact on mood, and strengthens patients’ ability to cope.
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.
The Case of the Anxiety Answer
Kris is a 46-year-old newly diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer. She is an avid runner and vegetarian, and she believes strongly in taking care of herself. “I never thought I would get cancer,” she says. “I thought I did everything I could to avoid this.”
Occupational and Physical Therapy May Improve Mental Health for Older Adults With Cancer
Older adults with cancer can have limited functional and health status; however, occupational (OT) and physical therapy (PT) are underused resources of care in this patient population. Researchers evaluated an outpatient CAncer REhabilitation (CARE) intervention program for this older adults in comparison to usual care. The study’s findings were presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.
Integrated Palliative Care Following HCT Improves Some Psychologic Outcomes
Hospitalization following hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) can lead to significant psychologic distress for patients. Researchers assessed the impact of an inpatient palliative care intervention on patient reported quality-of-life (QOL), mood, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) six months post-HCT. The researchers presented the study at the ASCO Annual Meeting.
Research Gives Insight on Cognitive Function in Patients With Cancer
Poor cognitive function can cause distress, impact quality of life, and contribute to treatment non-adherence, Catherine Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, from the University of Pittsburgh, explained during the Distinguished Nurse Researcher session at the 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO. She is the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Nurse Research Award, which recognizes the contributions of a member who has conducted or promoted research that has enhanced the science and practice of oncology nursing.
Use Pharmacologic and Nonpharmacologic Options to Treat Anxiety and Depression in Patients With Cancer
Jane Rosenthal, MD, FAPM, from New York University Langone Medical Center, discussed treatment and management options patients suffering from these disorders during a session at the 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO.
The Psychological Benefits of Cancer Prehabilitation
Cancer prehabilitation is a whole-person approach to quality cancer care. Along with potential physical gains, patients who participate in cancer prehabilitation (interventions started prior to cancer therapies) may also benefit emotionally and socially. The Case of the Deconditioned Patient focused on the physical benefits Frank experienced as a result of attending prehabilitation before he had surgery for lung cancer. Frank’s psychological gains were no less impressive.