From the Editor

TON - May 2017, Vol 10, No 3 - From the Editors

The May issue of The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA (TON) is full of important news and updates for oncology nurses. In this issue, we feature a profile of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, which is 1 of 47 National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Care Centers in the United States, and is the only center based in Florida.

“We do end-of-life care, and discussions with patients and families can be quite difficult, depending on the level of the patient’s and family’s understanding,” said Stephanie Andrews, MS, ANP-BC, Adult Medical Oncology Nurse Practitioner, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, in an interview with TON. “Our discussion may take place after chemotherapy, or if other treatments stop working and there is no better treatment. This may be the first time that a patient and family hear this. It can take multiple discussions for this news to sink in.”

Other valuable insights in this issue can be gleaned from additional articles, such as the association between androgen-deprivation therapy and anxiety in men with localized prostate cancer, which led researchers to recommend that anxiety be added to the list of side effects related to androgen-deprivation therapy.

We also feature key presentations and studies from recent national meetings, including the 2017 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology–Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium, and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society 14th Annual Conference.

At the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, Lisa Derosa, MD, a PhD candidate at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Institute, Paris-Sud University, in Villejuif, France, presented results from a clinical trial showing that recent use of antibiotics can compromise the efficacy of immunotherapy. Key findings from this study showed that cancer progressed much more quickly in patients who received antibiotics within 1 month prior to receiving immunotherapy than in those who did not, and that response rates were lower in antibiotic users compared with nonusers.

“Although it’s too early to conclude about overall survival, with median follow-up of less than 6 months, there is already a negative trend in the antibiotic-positive group,” she said.

Another noteworthy presentation at this symposium discussed results of a new trial that call into question the current practice of continuing treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors until disease progression in patients with advanced kidney cancer and some other malignancies. According to the study results, the benefits of immunotherapy can continue in some patients, even if treatment is stopped prematurely.

At the American Psychosocial Oncology Society 14th Annual Conference, Ruth Manna, MPH, Manager of the Communication Skills Research and Training Program Laboratory, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, discussed 5 skill categories that can be used to improve communication with elderly patients and their families in an oncology setting. They included agenda setting; checking for patient understanding; careful questioning to improve patient–provider interactions; information organization; and empathic communication. During her presentation, Ms Manna stressed the importance of implementing these tools when interacting with older adults with cancer to achieve the intended outcome of a conversation.

“If you tell a patient they seem stressed but they explain to you it’s actually fear, this gives them an opportunity to correct you. Once that emotion is named, there’s usually a fruitful discussion after that,” she said.

As always, we hope you will enjoy this issue of TON and look forward to receiving your feedback. You can contact us via e-mail at

Last modified: June 8, 2017