There is far less patient education for oral agents, such as CDK4/6 inhibitors for breast cancer, as there is for chemotherapy. This is a major issue, explained Patricia Jakel, MN, RN, AOCN, advanced practice nurse at UCLA's solid tumor program and co-editor in chief of Oncology Nursing News.
It's really difficult to remember to take it. Patients forget; sometimes they're taking multiple medications. So being able to teach patients about what I like to call "compliance" instead of "adherence," because "compliance" means the patient has a choice in it, and they're involved in it.
Going around the country doing this talk, I realized that there's no formal process in place, like with chemotherapy, for years, we'd have patients come to a class and we'd talk about the class. They'd come in and they'd learn. The oral agents, they're often prescribed in the clinic, either by the MD or the nurse practitioner, and then they don't see a clinic nurse. They don't see an infusion room nurse to continue to do the education. And right now, many places aren't offering classes for oral therapies, but I think it's something we really have to look at. ONS and ASCO both have come out and said we need to get better at this. It's actually an oncology nursing crisis.