In this month’s issue of The Oncology Pharmacist (TOP), we present the second in a series of articles about oncology pharmacy safety and issues related to hazardous materials in the workplace. Christine Roussel, PharmD, BCOP, and Thomas H. Connor, PhD, discuss the sources of workplace contamination and how healthcare workers may be exposed to hazardous drugs during the course of their duties. Roussel and Connor point out that “Although other routes (inhalation, oral, needlesticks) may be factors in uptake of these drugs, the dermal route appears to be the most common.” They emphasize that “while appropriate facility design and proper equipment are critical, so is a strong employee training program with continuing education” to promote compliance and safety.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The September 30, 2013, presidential proclamation acknowledging this points out that “This disease touches every corner of the United States—in 2013 alone, more than 230,000 women and over 2,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and tens of thousands will die from it.” In this issue of TOP, we bring you some of the latest research news as well as present some basic statistics about the disease in Noteworthy Numbers.
Be sure to read the article about the continuing problem of drug shortages. Presentations at the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting confirm that this is a persistent problem that affects how healthcare professionals practice medicine and how patients with cancer receive care. One especially worrisome aspect is how the drug shortages have interfered with patient participation in clinical trials.
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