Supportive Care


In a randomized trial of patients with cancer who were suffering from vertebral compression fractures (VCFs), balloon kyphoplasty was associated with greater pain relief and better quality of life than nonsurgical care. According to the authors, patients who received kyphoplasty relied significantly less on pain medication, bed rest, and walking assistance 1 month after undergoing the procedure.

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Every physician has a preferred way of writing prescription instructions, and pharmacists differ in how they translate those instructions to the pill bottle. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Wolf and associates found that the lack of a universal medication schedule (UMS) to standardize how prescriptions are written and filled contributes to poor patient adherence and increases safety concerns. Elderly patients or those with low health literacy are more prone to confusion when trying to follow a multidrug regimen.

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Cancer treatment–induced diarrhea (CTID) occurs in 50% to 80% of patients receiving chemo therapy and 50% of patients undergoing radiotherapy. Older patients, women, patients on an irinotecan-containing regimen, and patients treated in the adjuvant setting are at higher risk of CTID, reported Kelly Markey, PharmD, BCOP. Markey is a clinical pharmacist with the gastrointestinal tumor program at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and discussed CTID at the annual meeting of the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association.

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Despite aggressive campaigns to educate Americans on the lifethreatening risks of smoking, nearly 500,000 people die each year in the United States from smoking-related illness, according to a recent study in Epidemiology. Even patients with smoking- related cancers have trouble quitting, with about two-thirds of patients with lung cancer continuing to smoke.

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To help patients cope with terminal illness, healthcare providers must imagine themselves in the place of these patients, according to Tami Borneman, MSN, CNS, a research specialist at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California.

In a presentation at the sixth annual Oncology Congress, she coaxed her audience to pretend their own deaths were imminent. “I really want us to take in what it’s like to be a person receiving bad news,” she said.

Healthcare workers need such exercise es, because communicating bad news is really difficult, she said.

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ORLANDO—Patients often do not understand the terms clinicians use to describe their hematologic malignancies, such as myelodysplastic syndrome, which may lead to misunderstandings about their disease.

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Cancer-related pain does not stop after the initial treatment period for almost 20% of survivors. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers also found racial, in this study blacks, and sex, in this study women, disparities in cancer-related chronic pain.

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ORLANDO—Patients often do not understand the terms clinicians use to describe their hematologic malignancies, such as myelodysplastic syndrome, which may lead to misunderstandings about their disease.  Read More ›

Guidelines specific to cancer patients needed
More education about assessment and management of cardiotoxicity would strengthen the quality of nursing care of cancer patients, according to a study presented at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 2010 Advanced Practice Nursing /Institutes of Learning (APN/IOL)Conference in Orlando, Florida.

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