Cancer Death Rates See Largest-Ever Single-Year Drop
Overall U.S. cancer mortality fell 2.2% from 2016 to 2017, the largest reduction for a single year, according to the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Statistics, 2020,” published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
HPV Vaccine Has an Indirect Benefit: Herd Immunity
As more people receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect themselves from strains of the virus that can cause cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vulvar, and vaginal cancers, researchers are starting to see herd immunity, where even people who haven’t received the vaccine are developing fewer oral HPV infections. The findings were published in JAMA.
Women With Diabetes Are Less Likely to Get Cancer Screenings
Modest differences may exist among women with diabetes compared to healthy controls when it comes to adhering to screening recommendations for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, according to results of a study published in Diabetologia.
Nurses Are Central to Lung Cancer Screening Conversations
Participation in clinician and patient conversations about lung cancer screening—as well as the actual screening itself—is relatively low. According to one study, only 3.9% of screening-
eligible patients had undergone lung cancer screening. Because the screening recommendations are newer, most patients are unaware that they exist, and research highlights that only 10%–12% of the patient population has had conversations with their clinicians about it.
Study Drug Plus Immunotherapy May Offer New Treatment Option for Lung and Kidney Cancer
Pegilodecakin, an investigational, first-in-class drug currently in clinical trials, is demonstrating positive safety results and measurable responses when used in combination with pembrolizumab or nivolumab in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or kidney cancer. The findings from the multicenter, phase IB study were published in Lancet Oncology.
FDA Approves Tazemetostat for Advanced Epithelioid Sarcoma
On January 23, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to tazemetostat for adults and pediatric patients aged 16 years and older with metastatic or locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma not eligible for complete resection.
HRSA Releases National Survey on RNs
To better understand the demands and demographics of the larger RN community, the Health Resources Services Agency (HRSA) compiled data from the National Sample Survey of RNs. Released in January 2020, the report is a compendium of information and questions RNs have answered about different aspects of the life and work. The data collected since 1977 provides insight into the latest trends and future workforce projections, and HRSA uses it to help allocate workforce resources.
NCI Budget Boost; Ending Surprise Medical Billing; Supreme Court ACA Hearing
The push and pull of budget negotiations makes for great headlines, but more important is the outcome when lawmakers finally arrive at a consensus. Earlier in December, the National Institutes of Health announced a $2.6 billion overall increase in funding, including a $297 million increase to the National Cancer Institutes (NCI), for fiscal year 2020.
Breast Cancer Is More Fatal in Men Than Women
Men have higher death rates than women across all stages of breast cancer, study findings reported in JAMA Oncology show. In the study, five-year overall survival after a breast cancer diagnosis was 77.6% for men and 86.4% for women.
What the Research Cautions About Kratom’s Opioid-Like Abuse Potential
Kratom is a Southeast Asian tropical tree, the leaves of which have been chewed, smoked, or made as tea for their stimulant and euphoric effects. They have also been employed in traditional medicine to reduce pain and fever, to relieve diarrhea, for wound healing, and as a substitute for opium. Recently, kratom supplements have become popular in the United States for alleviating pain, improving mood, lowering anxiety, and alternative opioid withdrawal treatment.
Comprehensive Tobacco Treatment Helps Almost Half of Patients Quit Smoking
After nine months of follow-up, 44% of patients in a comprehensive tobacco treatment program were compliant with smoking abstinence, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Network Open.
Experts Recommend Tailored Exercise for All Cancer Treatment Plans
Systemic use of exercise prescriptions not only lowers the risk of certain cancers but also helps to improve side effects and survival from cancer and should therefore be incorporated into cancer treatment plans, experts from the American College of Sports Medicine and 17 partner organizations said in articles published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Multigene Testing Is Cost Effective for All Women With Breast Cancer
According to findings from a new analysis published in JAMA Oncology, multigene testing should be expanded to all women with breast cancer and not just those with certain family histories or clinical factors.
Combining Tamoxifen and Blue Light Can Better Target CAR T Cells
Bioengineers may have found a way to use tamoxifen activated with blue light to control precisely which tissues and body areas CAR T cells attack, reducing toxicities in other parts of the body. They reported their work in ACS Synthetic Biology.
Research Guides the Transition of PEP Resources to ONS Guidelines
Lymphedema is one of the most common treatment side effects in patients with breast cancer. Estimates suggest that approximately 40% of all breast cancer survivors are at risk to develop lymphedema at some point in their lives. But as far back as 1998 and even before, some healthcare experts were predicting that lymphedema would be eliminated as a side effect from breast cancer treatment. Twenty-one years later, it’s still prevalent among breast cancer survivors, requiring careful management recommendations from oncology nurses to help patients live with this chronic issue.
CDK4/6 Plus AI Is Effective for Older Women With Breast Cancer
Combination treatment with a CDK4/6 inhibitor and aromatase inhibitor (AI) results in similar progression-free survival (PFS) rates in women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer who are aged 70 or older compared to younger women, according to study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
NINR Acting Director; Vaping Flavor Ban; Drug Pricing 2020
In 2018, long-time National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) Director Patricia Grady, PhD, RN, FAAN, retired. A national search yielded no new directors, and the National Institutes of Health appointed Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, to serve as acting NINR director. However, when the director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research announced she would retire at the end of 2019, Tabak, who previously served as the dental agency’s director, was appointed as the obvious replacement.
What Does the Evidence Say About Reiki for Cancer?
Reiki is a complementary health approach in which practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above a person to promote a sense of well-being. It was founded by the Japanese Buddhist and spiritual teacher Mikao Usui in the early 20th century and brought to the United States in the 1930s, where it has become increasingly popular.
Do Antibiotics Affect Response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors?
Receiving antibiotics in the 30 days prior to starting immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment was associated with significantly reduced median overall survival, according to findings from a study published in JAMA Oncology. However, antibiotic use during treatment had no effect on survival.
USPSTF Updates Recommendations on Breast Cancer Prevention
Certain groups of women who are at increased risk for carrying BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes should be assessed for the need for genetic testing, and women at increased risk for breast cancer and low risk of adverse events should be offered risk-reducing medications, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended.
New Liquid Biopsy Approach Is Accurate in Detecting Early Cancer
A test that looks at circulating DNA rather than specific mutations is accurate in detecting 72% of early cancer cases and correctly identifying the tissue of origin in 75% of cases, researchers reported in study findings published in Nature.
FDA Approves Niraparib for HRD-Positive Advanced Ovarian Cancer
On October 23, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved niraparib (Zejula®) for patients with advanced ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer treated with three or more prior chemotherapy regimens and whose cancer is associated with homologous recombination deficiency (HRD)-positive status. HRD is defined by either a deleterious or suspected deleterious BRCA mutation, or genomic instability in patients with disease progression greater than six months after response to the last platinum-based chemotherapy.
Small Study Shows T-Cell Activity in Pancreatic Cancer
When treated with their own nonengineered T cells plus chemotherapy, six of seven patients with inoperable or metastatic pancreatic cancer showed objective responses or stable disease, according to the results of a study reported at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Immune Cell Therapies for Cancer conference in July 2019.
Colorectal Cancer Diagnoses Increasing in Patients Younger Than 50
Healthcare providers are seeing increasing numbers of younger patients with colorectal cancer, and they’re being diagnosed with more advanced stages of the disease, researchers reported in study findings published in the journal Cancer.
CDC Estimates That 92% of HPV-Related Cancers Could Be Prevented
For years, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been promoted for its potential role in cancer prevention. In a study released in August 2019 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency estimated that nearly 92% of all HPV-related cancers could be prevented through proper vaccination.
NIH HEAL Initiative Commits $945 Million to Opioid Research
Designated as a national epidemic, opioid addiction and abuse are front and center at the federal level as lawmakers work to support the discovery of new treatments and resources to curb the growing problem. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), with support from the White House, Congress, and the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded $945 million in funding for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements across 41 states for the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative. Targeting novel chronic pain interventions, opioid abuse, and the addiction crisis, the HEAL Initiative will funnel funding and resources into efforts that can make an impact immediately and in the future for healthcare providers and their patients.
irAEs Linked to Improved Benefit From Pembrolizumab
Patients with advanced melanoma who received adjuvant therapy with pembrolizumab and subsequently developed immune-related adverse events (irAEs) saw a 63% reduced risk of recurrence, compared to 44% for those who did not develop irAEs. The study findings were presented at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.
Vaccine May Boost CAR T-Cell Activity in Solid Tumors
Researchers are testing a new approach using an amphiphilic cancer vaccine to deliver CAR T-cell therapy to solid tumors, and the results of preclinical studies are promising, according to findings published in the journal Science.
FDA Approves Combination Pembrolizumab Plus Lenvatinib
On September 17, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to the combination of pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) plus lenvatinib (Lenvima®) for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not microsatellite instability high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) and who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy but are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation.
ONS Names Debra Lyon as Incoming Oncology Nursing Forum Editor
Oncology nursing-led research is the engine that drives practice change when caring for patients with cancer. As a standard-bearer of oncology nursing research and a veteran of nursing research publications, Debra Lyon, RN, PhD, FNP-BC, FAAN, will bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the Oncology Nursing Forum (ONF), becoming the research journal’s sixth editor effective January 1, 2020.
Hematologic Cancers Have Higher Long-Term Risk of Clots and Bleeding
Patients with hematologic cancers have a 19% increased risk for blood clots or bleeding events even 10 years after diagnosis, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.
Evidence Supports Strategies for Better Safe Handling Practice
The evidence is clear: for more than 40 years, reports have confirmed that hazardous drug exposure poses significant safety risks to providers who handle many agents related to cancer treatments. Healthcare professionals experience several substantial health threats, including reproductive problems, airway and skin irritation, and cancers. Despite the potential health risks, the data are also clear: nurses routinely do not wear personal protective equipment as recommended when handling hazardous drugs.
Hyperthyroidism Treatment Linked to Increased Cancer Death Risk
Radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism is associated with long-term risk of death from solid cancers, particularly breast cancer, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Ruth McCorkle Leaves Legacy of Innovation, Advancement in Oncology Nursing
ONS member Ruth McCorkle, PhD, RN, FAPOS, FAAN, had a storied, trailblazing career in oncology nursing, leading the way to advance nursing research, patient-centered care, and educational excellence. McCorkle passed away on August 17, 2019, surrounded by her close family, leaving behind an indelible legacy to the oncology nursing profession.
Healthy Finances Allow ONS to Advance Oncology Nursing and Science
ONS wrapped up the first four months of 2019 as a financially strong organization, according to the finance reports the ONS Board of Directors received during its June 13–15 meeting. The Society’s investments are up almost 9%. It also saw an increase in ONS Congress revenue from 2018 to 2019 and will not raise Congress registration fees for 2020. A solid financial outlook allows ONS to continue to serve its members by representing and growing the profession.
FDA Approves Fedratinib for Myelofibrosis
On August 16, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved fedratinib (Inrebic®) for adults with intermediate-2 or high-risk primary or secondary (post-polycythemia vera or post-essential thrombocythemia) myelofibrosis.
FDA Approves Entrectinib for NTRK Solid Tumors and ROS-1 NSCLC
On August 15, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to entrectinib (RozlytrekTM) for adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older with solid tumors that have a neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene fusion without a known acquired resistance mutation, are metastatic or where surgical resection is likely to result in severe morbidity, and have progressed following treatment or have no satisfactory standard therapy.
CAR T Cells Show Promise in Solid Tumors
Two recent studies demonstrated CAR T-cell therapy activity in certain types of solid tumors, according to results presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. The CAR T cells used new targets outside of the CD19 targets used for the therapy’s current approvals in leukemia and lymphoma.
Geriatric Oncology Ambulatory Care Clinics Address Older Patients’ Needs
Traditionally defined as patients aged 65 and older, older adults make up the majority of patients with cancer. Ambulatory care clinics with a specialized focus on older patients with cancer can provide age-specific care and an interprofessional team of providers well versed in cancer, aging, and geriatric assessment. Through geriatric oncology ambulatory care clinics, providers can work together to identify and coordinate plans to individualize treatment and supportive care for older patients.
Clinical Trial Participants Average 6.5 Years Younger Than Actual Cancer Populations
For the four most common cancer sites (breast, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer), the median age of patients in clinical trials is an average of 6.5 years younger than the median age of patients diagnosed with that cancer. And the age disparity is worsening, researchers reported in JAMA Oncology.
How Does ONS Support Nurses Who Care for Older Adults With Cancer?
By bringing together gero-oncology experts from the ONS membership, staff, and leadership, the ONS geriatric oncology group is identifying gaps in geriatric oncology nursing research and care and connecting ONS members with available resources targeting this vulnerable population. Adult patients with cancer—aged 65 and older—already make up a majority of patients that oncology nurses see. Despite the population’s prevalence throughout cancer institutions and clinics, many nurses are not acutely familiar with the specialized care required to successfully help them navigate their treatment.
Nurse Researchers Receive Presidential Award
The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is the highest honor early-career professional researchers can receive from the federal government. On July 15, 2019, two nurse researchers were included among this year’s recipients. National Institute of Nursing Research-supported scientists, Sarah Rossetti, RN, PhD, and Tracey L. Yap, PhD, RN, WCC, CNE, FGSA, FAAN, were acknowledged for their promise and leadership in nursing science and patient-centered research.
High Fitness Linked to Lower Risk and Mortality in Lung and Colorectal Cancers
Adults with the highest cardiorespiratory fitness levels have a reduced risk for lung and colorectal cancer—and a lower risk of death if they do develop the cancers, according to findings from a study published in Cancer.
NIH All of Us Campaign Celebrates First Anniversary
As part of the rising wave of precision medicine initiatives, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the All of Us campaign in 2018. This one-of-a-kind research program aimed to collect data from more than one million Americans, including factors about lifestyle, environment, and biology, to understand impacts on health and well being. The information would help researchers to better understand the individual nature of health to ultimately inform decisions about delivering precision medicine.
Magnet Status Benefits Physicians, Too
Achieving Magnet recognition is the gold standard of a nursing program, demonstrating that an organization’s nursing leaders have established nursing excellence to improve outcomes for patients. And now the results of a new study published in Harvard Business Review show that excellent nurses are positively linked to physicians’ performance as well.