Keeping Watch: Monitoring Survivors for Late Treatment Effects
We continue to marvel at the tremendous strides made in cancer care, a record of progress that means millions of people are now surviving cancer, and many for a very long time.
We continue to marvel at the tremendous strides made in cancer care, a record of progress that means millions of people are now surviving cancer, and many for a very long time. Yet this good news brings its own set of challenges for today’s healthcare practitioners, because cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can have lasting effects such as cardiotoxicity and recurrent cancers that may appear many years later.
In our cover story this month, we explore how vigilant monitoring of survivors is essential and how precision medicine can identify those individuals most at risk of these effects and make sure they get the appropriate screenings and follow-up care.
Late effects of a cancer diagnosis are not only physical of course and can include fear of recurrence, lingering depression, and sexual challenges. Our editors were on hand in Washington, DC, for the 2015 World Congress on Psycho-Oncology, interviewing presenters about their latest research to help patients cope with the distress of a cancer diagnosis and manage those symptoms which can sometimes be overlooked, but are so important to overall quality of life. The meeting marked the first time the American and international psychosocial oncology societies met jointly, an impressive assembly of more than 900 experts from 49 countries.
We also provide an update on a therapy option that we first covered in 2011—hot chemotherapy bath. We talked with experts in hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) about how the treatment is being used in practice today to treat a variety of gastric and gynecologic malignancies. Selecting the right patients for HIPEC is essential, and nurses play a critical role in supporting them throughout this extensive procedure and long period of recovery.
Our Strategic Alliance Partners featured in this issue of Oncology Nursing News touch on two critical issues in cancer care today. Joan Such Lockhart of Duquesne University School of Nursing makes a strong case for the need to improve cancer knowledge among all healthcare practitioners, so that they can effectively treat the burgeoning numbers of survivors who they will be seeing in their clinics. And Katherine Yeager of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University takes on the all-important issue of cancer pain, an issue of critical importance, with studies showing that 40% of patients with cancer do not get adequate relief from pain.
We welcome your feedback and suggestions on topics you’d like to see in the pages of this journal and on our website, Nursing.OncLive.com. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
—Mike Hennessy Chairman