Comprehensive cancer resource centers provide a supportive environment in which patients can obtain accurate, current information about their specific type of cancer and become active partners in their healthcare. Access to up-to-date information can play a significant role in helping patients and their family members cope effectively with the complexities of cancer.
With the growing number of cancer survivors, survivorship planning is getting a lot of attention. An important aspect of cancer survivorship is the effects on nurses, who become “secondary survivors,” of the toll cancer takes on patients and families. As such, nurses need to be aware of the possibility of “compassion fatigue.”
A recent study, published in August 2011 by Friese and colleagues, correlates the incidence of accidental chemotherapy exposure in outpatient infusion centers to several factors.1 Appearing first online in BMJ Quality and Safety, the article discusses staffing and resource availability, as well as adherence to safety practice standards and their contribution to higher chemotherapy exposure event reporting. In summary, when the nurses sampled reported adequate staffing and resource availability, the reported incidence of accidental exposure to chemotherapy was lower.
The Oncotype DX breast cancer assay for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a strong and significant predictor of 10-year risk of recurrence in women with DCIS, according to a study presented at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) held in December 2011. It is the first clinically validated genomic assay to predict risk of local recurrence for women with DCIS, and it is now available from Genomic Health.
Vismodegib Capsule Approved for Metastatic Basal Cell Carcinoma
The FDA approved Erivedge (vismodegib; Genentech) capsule for the treatment of adults with metastatic basal cell carcinoma, or with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma that has recurred after surgery or who are not candidates for surgery, and who are not candidates for radiation. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, and vismodegib is the first drug approved by the FDA for metastatic basal cell carcinoma.
BRCA mutation carriers who have had breast cancer are at increased risk of developing contralateral breast cancer, according to a study presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. In fact, women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation had a greater than 10% risk of developing contralateral breast cancer, and the risk was strongly associated with younger age at diagnosis and a diagnosis of triple-negative (estrogen receptor–negative, progesterone receptor–negative, and HER2-negative) breast cancer.
Administering gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) on a new schedule achieved impressive progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) compared with standard chemotherapy in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with favorable cytogenetics, according to a phase 3 study presented at the Plenary Session of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). GO was taken off the market in 2010 due to toxicity concerns and is no longer available in the US.
An outreach effort aimed at Latina women was unveiled at a poster session during the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS). The innovation was a novela called “Se Valiente … Son Tus Senos” (Be Brave … They’re Your Breasts) that conveys accessible and personal information for Latina women in an effort to overcome barriers in this community to accessing healthcare. The novela was developed by SHARE (Self-help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer), a peer-group organization for survivors of breast and ovarian cancer.
Although management of lymphoma during pregnancy is not well studied, a retrospective review at 10 academic centers in the United States suggests that in selected cases, lymphoma can be treated with minimal maternal and fetal complications, and that treatment can be deferred until after giving birth in patients with low-risk lymphomas. The study was presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology held December 2011 in San Diego, California.
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