TON - November/December 2014 Vol 7 No 6

Joanne Frankel Kelvin, MSN, RN, AOCN, a fertility clinical nurse specialist who leads MSK’s program, spoke with The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA about the steps needed to develop the program, how she became involved and educated herself about the issue, and her experience with patients, as well as some of the challenges and hopes—now and in the future.
The annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) took place in San Francisco, California, on September 14-17, 2014. The meeting draws more than 11,000 attendees, bringing together clinicians, scientists, and researchers from all oncology disciplines. ASTRO highlights how technology and biology advance the field of radiation oncology and improve outcomes and quality of life for patients. As ASTRO’s needs statement for the annual meeting points out, nearly two-thirds of the estimated 1.6 million people who will be diagnosed with cancer this year will receive radiation therapy—this makes it imperative that all members of the multidisciplinary team be aware of best practices. Below are summaries of some highlights from the meeting.
A cancer diagnosis brings challenges for patients above and beyond undertaking a medical treatment regimen while managing their already demanding lives. It is a tidal wave that sucks away their time, energy, and money in its wake. Their supporters seek to ease these burdens for them, but these supporters are often at a loss as to just how or where to fill in. The modern world in “the cloud” is responding to these issues by developing websites, programs, and applications (apps) that cancer patients can use to help themselves in some very big ways.
With Ebola virus in the news, infection is a hot topic. At the recent National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) 9th Annual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies, Laura Zitella, MS, RN, ACNP-BC, AOCN, updated attendees on how to prevent and treat cancer-related infections.1 Zitella is with the Stanford Cancer Institute in Stanford, California.
This issue of The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA (TON) is our final issue for 2014. We look forward to wrapping up the year on a high note and plan on pertinent and insightful coverage for 2015.
It may be possible to preserve sexual function in men with prostate cancer undergoing curative radiation therapy (RT) by using a vessel-sparing radiation technique, according to a 5-year follow-up of a group of men who underwent vessel-sparing radiation therapy in this setting. The study included 90 men diagnosed with prostate cancer; about 50% underwent external beam RT alone and 50% had the external beam RT plus brachytherapy. No patient received androgen deprivation therapy.
A study based on patient-reported outcomes in a broad sample of cancer patients with bone metastases showed that single fraction radiation therapy (SFRT) was as effective as multiple fraction radiation therapy (MFRT) for alleviating pain and improving function and quality of life (QOL). This study has cost implications as well as implications for patient convenience, noted senior author Robert Olson, MD, a radiation oncologist at the British Columbia (BC) Cancer Agency Centre for the North, Canada. “We see variations in patterns of use of MFRT. No doubt some of the use of MFRT [in the United States] is driven by cost considerations,” he noted.
Radiation therapy (RT) does not increase the risk of lymphedema in patients with node-negative breast cancer beyond that of surgery, according to a secondary analysis of the NSABP (National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project) B-32 trial. “These results should reassure breast cancer patients that radiation therapy to the level 1 axilla when radiating the whole breast does not contribute to lymphedema risk beyond surgery,” stated lead author Susan McCloskey, MD, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles. McCloskey added, “This analysis suggests that lymphedema should not be an impediment to women choosing breast-conservation surgery and radiation therapy.”
Researchers reported that results of a simple blood test measuring VEGF-A and TGF-²1 can be used as predictive markers for response to treatment in patients with squamous cell esophageal cancer undergoing concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy (CCRT) followed by esophagectomy, or removal of part of the esophagus.
Patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer but continue to smoke are at much higher risk of developing a secondary primary lung cancer (SPLC) compared with never smokers as well as those who have quit smoking, according to the largest analysis of its kind. “This study, which looked at the relationship between smoking history and developing a second lung cancer, adds to the evidence of the harmfulness of cigarette smoking. We presumed that never smokers would have a lower risk than current smokers, but we were encouraged to find that quitting smoking lowered the risk of SPLC and quitters had similar overall survival rates as never smokers,” said John Michael Boyle, MD, lead author, a radiation oncology resident at Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, North Carolina.
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