More recently, immunologic therapy has emerged as an important treatment option for many types of cancers, based on demonstrations of unprecedented efficacy. This radical shift in treatment has come with the recognition of the essential role of the immune system in the surveillance and eradication of neoplastic cells, particularly modulation of the immune checkpoint protein cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor and its ligand, PD-L1.
The fluoropyrimidine 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and its prodrug capecitabine are cytotoxic agents that have been widely used in the treatment of solid tumors. In the United States alone, an estimated 275,000 patients with cancer receive 5-FU each year. Despite its lifesaving/life-prolonging potential, 5-FU causes severe early-onset toxicity in up to one-fourth of patients, and more than 1300 die each year as a result of this toxicity.
The role of nurse navigators has grown exponentially in recent years, and is now regarded as an integral element of oncology treatment and patient care. The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) defines patient navigation as the “process whereby a patient is given individualized support across the continuum of care, beginning with community outreach to raise awareness and perform cancer screening, through the diagnosis and treatment process, and on to short- and long-term survivorship or end of life.” At the Best Practices in Lung Cancer Navigation Summit, held October 22, 2016, in Rosemont, IL, oncology nurse navigators involved in the care of patients with lung cancer convened to discuss the complexities and role of nurse navigators in the treatment of lung cancer.