Improving Quality of Life Throughout the Care Continuum

Oncology Nursing NewsFebruary 2016
Volume 10
Issue 1

The FDA has been very busy lately granting approvals for a host of new anticancer agents, drug combinations, and indications.

OncLive Chairman,

Mike Hennessy

The FDA has been very busy lately granting approvals for a host of new anticancer agents, drug combinations, and indications. This is truly heartening news for the oncology community, and there’s more to come.

Yet as nurses know well, certain side effects of treatment like cognitive complaints and peripheral neuropathy can be stubbornly persistent, and for a sizeable subset of survivors, these symptoms negatively impact their quality of life long after treatment ends.

Fortunately, solutions are available for one of the more common treatment-related adverse events—chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV)—and new options have been recently approved by the FDA. Another welcome development is FDA clearance of the first scalp cooling system which has been shown to significantly reduce the hair loss which can accompany anticancer treatment.

Unfortunately, some patients and survivors remain reluctant to discuss certain symptoms with their clinicians in the erroneous belief that side effects like CINV and insomnia are just “something that I have to live with, because I have cancer.” Nurses know better, and as our coverage this month shows, asking patients simple questions about how they are sleeping, or probing any worries over expected nausea from chemotherapy, can lead to remedies— pharmacologic and behavioral—that can improve their quality of life during and after treatment.

Many of the insights we share in this issue from side effect management experts emanate from our team coverage of last month’s first-ever Cancer Survivorship Symposium, a unique collaboration of oncology and primary healthcare professionals, all working toward the same goal: crafting better models of coordinated and individualized care to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors. This month, we also welcome a new member of our Strategic Alliance Partnership program, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, a global leader in nursing and healthcare and one of the nation’s top-ranked accredited nursing school programs. In this issue, Associate Professor Jennifer Wenzel, PhD, RN, sheds light on the critical need to increase minority participation in clinical trials.

Have you visited our website recently? has a new look, showcasing more of the latest news on the homepage and spotlighting articles from our growing cadre of nurse contributors. If you would like to use this forum to share your insights periodically with your peers on all things oncology nursing, please email Lauren Green ( for more information and to share your ideas and suggestions.

And, as always, thank you for reading.

—Mike Hennessy


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