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CHICAGO—For the first time in decades, the treatment of advanced melanoma has taken a positive turn, according to studies presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology that showed a survival benefit with 2 experimental agents.


CHICAGO—The oral poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor olaparib delayed ovarian cancer recurrence by 4 months when given as maintenance therapy to patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer, in an international study reported at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology by Jonathan Ledermann, MD, professor of medical oncology, University College London, United Kingdom.


The evidence backing the use of myeloid growth factors in patients at high risk for febrile neutropenia is solid, according to Jeffrey Crawford, MD, of Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, North Carolina.


ORLANDO—A novel prostate brachytherapy technique that avoids the central zone may sharply reduce periurethral prostate radiation (XBT) and significantly reduce posttreatment urinary obstruction/irritation. In addition, this approach may significantly reduce long-term urinary incontinence, according to a prospective study presented at the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.


SAN FRANCISCO—A novel small-caliber metal stent can provide a low-risk means of palliation for severe malignant dysphagia, according to investigators who have created these stents and are now testing them in trials. The results were presented at the 2011 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium by Stephen Kucera, MD, of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, where he is an interventional endoscopy fellow.


BOSTON—Nurses have been involved in radiation oncology since the early 1940s, but as nursing roles in general have evolved over time, so has the role of these nurses. A group of advanced practice nurses (APNs) shared how they came to be part of their facility’s radiation oncology department and how the increased strain on healthcare is opening opportunities in this field for APNs.


BOSTON—As more targeted therapies for non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) become available, experts are assessing which patients’ tumors should be genotyped and when. Although genotyping—not to be confused with genetic testing—is becoming increasingly important in developing a treatment plan, professional guidelines do not yet recommend incorporating it as a routine part of care for patients with NSCLC.


BOSTON—Recognizing steroid-induced hyperglycemia early and addressing it promptly can prevent significant adverse effects associated with this complication. Educating patients on the importance of and methods for maintaining good blood glucose control helps mitigate damage to the vascular system and kidneys from hyperglycemia. It also lessens susceptibility to infection, a complication of hyperglycemia that is of serious concern in immunocompromised patients.


BOSTON—Many patients are unaware of their risk of cancer-related lymphedema, and oncology nurses can be instrumental in raising consciousness about this debilitating adverse effect. Of breast cancer survivors, 22% to 66% develop lymphedema, said Jane Armer, PhD, RN, FAAN, Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri, in her poster presentation. Approximately 15% of nonbreast cancer patients also develop lymphedema. This chronic condition is optimally managed by a lymphedema therapist.


BOSTON—Bone loss and related complications are common in patients with cancer. And the problem is growing, with more patients with cancer aged 65 years and older and increased use of newer treatments that compromise bone mineral density (BMD). “As nurses, we have a very significant role to play in both prevention and management of [bone loss] problems,” said Carrie Tompkins Stricker, PhD, RN, oncology nurse practitioner, Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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