Web Exclusives

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.


Imatinib (Gleevec) revolutionized the treatment of Philadelphia chromosome– positive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and established targeting and inhibiting BCR-ABL as the standard of care.1 In 2009, 8-year follow- up data from the landmark phase 3 IRIS (International Randomized Study of Interferon Versus STI571) trial were presented for the 553 patients with newly diagnosed chronic-phase (CP) CML randomized to imatinib.

Maintenance therapy has begun to emerge as a treatment standard for patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has not progressed after 4 to 6 cycles of frontline chemo therapy. But some caveats still apply. Although it may be suitable for fit, motivated patients who are highly symptomatic at the time of presentation, it is not yet clear if maintenance therapy should be routine.

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.


BOSTON—The national discourse on cancer screening has come a long way since 1988, when Ronald Reagan became the first president to say “breast cancer” in public, noted Alec Stone, MA, MPA, Health Policy Director, Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). In 2009, after the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended mammography screening every 2 years instead of annually, beginning at 50 years of age instead of 40, the public outcry was widespread and loud. Controversy has also been swirling about prostate cancer screening recommendations.


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