Oncology NEWS International Vol 11 No 6

Gleevec Effective as First-Line Therapy of CML: IRIS Trial

June 01, 2002

ASCO-In a phase III study, imatinib mesylate (Gleevec), formerly known as STI571, produced a 96% complete hematologic response rate and a 68% complete cytogenetic response rate in newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients, Brian Druker, MD, said on behalf of the IRIS (International Randomized Interferon vs STI-571) Study Group at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 1).

Curcumin May Enhance TRAIL-Induced Cancer Cell Death

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, can act together with the natural molecule TRAIL to increase apoptosis in androgen-sensitive human prostate cancer cells, researchers said at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 4237).

Cardiac Exercise Rehabilitation Program Can Be Adapted for Cancer Patients

June 01, 2002

SAN ANTONIO, Texas-An exercise rehabilitation program similar to that used for cardiac patients significantly improved both exercise tolerance and quality of life (QOL) for cancer patients participating in a pilot study. Stacey Young-McCaughan, RN, PhD, and colleagues tested the exercise program in patients at two military medical centers in San Antonio, Texas. Lieutenant Colonel Young-McCaughan is deputy director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs at the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Advent of HAART Associated With Shift in Causes of Death in HIV-Infected Individuals

June 01, 2002

SEATTLE-The proportions of deaths in HIV-infected individuals caused by non-AIDS-related diseases have increased since the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), according to a study presented at the 9th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (abstract 14). Mitchell I. Wolfe, MD, MPH, medical epidemiologist, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), presented the data.

Symptom Clusters or Groupings Are Common in Cancer Outpatients

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-More than one-third of cancer outpatients report two or more symptoms such as pain, fatigue, nausea, depression, and sleep disturbances. Because severity of individual symptoms and risk of clinical depression both worsen as the number of symptoms increases, these symptom clusters or groupings have important clinical implications, according to Marylin J. Dodd, RN, PhD, professor of nursing at the University of California at San Francisco.

Allogeneic BMT Ups 5-Year EFS in Ph- ALL

June 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT) significantly reduced relapse rates and increased event-free survival (EFS) rates, but not overall survival, in adults with Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in first complete remission.

HIV-1 Vaccine Proving Safe, Immunogenic in Humans

June 01, 2002

SEATTLE-A new HIV-1 vaccine that uses a replication-defective adenovirus vector has proved to be safe, well tolerated, and immunogenic to date in an ongoing phase I trial, according to research presented at the 9th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (abstract 12). Emilio Emini, PhD, senior vice president of vaccine research at Merck Research Laboratories, presented the results.

Aspirin Helps Prevent Recurrent Large Bowel Adenomas

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Routine use of aspirin provides a modest reduction in the recurrence of large bowel adenomas, according to the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study presented by the Polyp Prevention Study Group. Paradoxically, the group found that an 80 mg daily dose, the equivalent of one baby aspirin, was much more effective in preventing polyps than was the 325 mg daily dose, the amount contained in a typical adult aspirin.

Side Effects of the Treatment of Ovarian Cancer Can Have Great Impact on Activities of Daily Living

June 01, 2002

NEW YORK-Treatment of ovarian cancer can cause side effects that have a significant impact on patients’ everyday lives, including walking, according to Lois Almadrones, RN, MS, MPA, clinical nurse specialist, Gynecology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Speaking at an industry-sponsored symposium held in conjunction with the Oncology Nursing Society annual meeting, she outlined approaches to improve the management of palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (PPE), peripheral neuropathy, and hypersensitivity to some chemotherapeutic agents.

Diagnostic Dilemma

June 01, 2002

A 75-year-old attorney presents with intermittent rectal bleeding. He had refused routine sigmoidoscopy in the past. His primary care physician was his friend, and he had convinced him to at least send in stool specimens for occult blood testing. Three years ago, his primary care physician informed him that "several" of the tests were positive and that he required evaluation. The patient refused and his doctor retired.

High Levels of Leptin May Contribute to Breast Cancer Risk

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Increased circulating levels of the protein leptin, which regulates body fat and fat mass, may be a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, according to a presentation at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 2503).

Rituximab Post-transplant Improves Survival in B-Cell NHL

June 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Giving rituximab (Rituxan) after high-dose chemotherapy/autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation for B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) produced better survival and freedom from progression rates than would be expected with a conventional transplant regimen, according to a phase II study reported at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (abstract 3578).

Nurses Spot Gaps in Application of Clinical Guidelines for Anemia

June 01, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC-Recombinant human erythropoietin is accepted treatment for chemotherapy-related anemia, but a panel of four oncology nurses convened to review an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for anemia concluded that guidelines are not being consistently followed. The panel’s findings were presented by Denise Oseguera, RN, of University of California, Los Angeles, and Susan Ross, MD, of MetaWorks Inc., Medford, Massachusetts.

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson GI Surgery Nurses Develop Education Program to Improve Satisfaction With Patient-Controlled Analgesia

June 01, 2002

HOUSTON-Patient satisfaction with patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) rose from 75% to 90% with an education program implemented by Elizabeth Fogarty, RN, and colleagues from the gastrointestinal surgery unit at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The patient and staff education program is now being used in nursing practice throughout the entire institution.

Physicians and Patients Rarely Discuss Symptom Distress

June 01, 2002

BOSTON-Fatigue is a worse problem than pain for most cancer patients but oncologists rarely know this because discussions with patients about symptom distress are typically "don’t ask, don’t tell." Physicians don’t ask, and patients don’t tell, according to Marybeth Singer, MS, RN.

NLM Selects InTouch for Indexing in the MEDLARS System

June 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-InTouch magazine, published by PRR for cancer patients and their family members, has been selected by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) to be indexed and included in Index Medicus and MEDLINE.

High-Risk Hispanics Interested in Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

June 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-A survey of 110 Hispanic women at elevated risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer revealed a high degree of interest in genetic testing but a low level of knowledge about their own objective risk of getting these cancers, Martha P. Martinez, PsyD, said at the American Psychological Association Conference on Enhancing Outcomes in Women’s Health. Dr. Martinez is a voluntary instructor of medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Energy Conservation and Activity Management Training Helps Patients Cope With Treatment-Related Fatigue

June 01, 2002

PHILADELPHIA-Energy conservation and activity management training (ECAM) reduces fatigue levels and helps patients maintain normal activities despite treatment-related fatigue, Andrea M. Barsevick, RN, DNSc, reported. Dr. Barsevick is director of nursing research and education at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Extensive Options for Nursing Educators Teaching End-of-Life Care

June 01, 2002

SEATTLE-A new CD-Rom provides a wide range of flexible, thorough and authoritative materials on end-of-life care. Nursing educators can adapt these materials to the needs of their programs and students and fill a serious gap in the curricula of many nursing schools, reported Diana J. Wilkie, PhD, RN, professor and pain management specialist at the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle.

EU Programs Combat ‘Manmade’ Lung Cancer Epidemic

June 01, 2002

NEW YORK-The invention of the manufactured cigarette in Cuba in 1875 sparked "the manmade epidemic of lung cancer" and other smoking-related diseases that emerged in the 20th century, said Prof. Peter Boyle, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Using Evidence-based Practice Algorithm Improves Outcomes for Patients with Mucositis Pain

June 01, 2002

BOSTON-Up to 70% of patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation suffer oral mucositis painful enough to require treatment with intravenous opioids. Nurses in the bone marrow transplant unit at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston became concerned that the lack of practice standards for managing this type of pain was resulting in suboptimal treatment and increasing the risk of adverse events. Barbara Fine, RN, BSN, and Maureen Lynch, MS, RN, developed an evidence-based practice algorithm and an approach to implementing it that was successful in changing established practice, improving outcomes, and increasing staff and patient satisfaction with pain control.

St. John’s Wort May Limit Effectiveness of Chemotherapy

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-St. John’s wort, a popular herbal preparation that is commonly used to treat depression and other illnesses, alters the metabolism of the anticancer agent irinotecan (Camptosar), according to the results of a study presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR abstract 2443).

Helping Chemotherapy Patients Manage Pain and Fatigue Also Reduces Other Symptoms

June 01, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC-A nurse-directed intervention to help chemotherapy patients manage pain and fatigue not only relieved those symptoms but also reduced the number of other symptoms patients suffered, according to Barbara Given, PhD, RN, professor of nursing at Michigan State University in East Lansing. She reported results on behalf of researchers at that institution, as well as at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Consortium Spearheads Improvement in End-of-Life Nursing Training

June 01, 2002

DUARTE, California-Nurses play a crucial role in the quality of patients’ experience at the end of life, but nursing schools have not traditionally provided high-quality training in caring for the dying, according to Rose Virani, RNC, MHA. Now a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aims to upgrade the offerings of the nation’s nursing schools through specialized end-of-life courses for nursing educators.

Quality of Life Becomes More Important

June 01, 2002

DALLAS-With "significant improvement" in both progression-free and 5-year survival of patients with ovarian cancer, "quality of life becomes important," stated Alan N. Gordon, MD, director of research in gynecologic oncology in the Division of Oncology at Texas Oncology in Dallas.

FTI Achieves Long-Lasting Responses in Myelodysplastic Syndrome Patients

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-The investigational farnesyl transferase inhibitor (FTI), R115777 (tipifarmib, Zarnestra) causes robust clinical responses in some patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), but these responses are not correlated with the drug’s ability to inhibit farnesyl transferase, according to a study presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 4959).

Undertreatment Is Common Among Elderly Patients With Early-Stage Breast Cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

June 01, 2002

TAMPA, Florida-Giving suboptimal care, in terms of chemotherapy regimens and dose intensities, is "compromising survival" of elderly patients, according to a report by Julie Meyer, MPH, of a study involving close to 24,000 patients with early stage breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Ms. Meyer is a nurse practitioner in the Senior Adult Oncology Program at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida.

ONS Head Calls for More ‘Seats at the Table’

June 01, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC-Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) President Paula T. Rieger, RN, MSN, has made "more seats at the table" her model for internal ONS matters, for improving oncology practice, and for giving nurses and patients more voice in health policy. An advanced practice nurse, Clinical Cancer Prevention, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Ms. Rieger discussed these issues in her presidential address to the 27th Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society. With 30,000-members, ONS is the world’s largest professional oncology association.

LKB1/STK11 Gene Mutation Linked to Lung Adenocarcinoma

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-In a study from Johns Hopkins University Medical School, one third of sporadic lung adenocarcinomas were found to have the inactivated LKB1/STK11 gene. A germ-line mutation in this gene has been shown to result in Peutz-Jegher’s syndrome. Patients with this autosomally dominant disease have an increased risk of developing malignancies. Montserrat Sanchez-Cespedes, PhD, now a senior scientist at the Spanish National Cancer Center, Madrid, presented the study at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 720).

Handheld Device Improves Toxicity Data Collection

June 01, 2002

Wireless tablet-sized computers and user-friendly software may soon be helping investigators collect clinical trials toxicity data. A new handheld prototype with all the capabilities of a standard laptop computer was demonstrated at the LENT IV workshop.

New Childhood Cancer Advocacy Group States Seven Key Aims

June 01, 2002

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia-More than 20 national advocacy groups, professional medical societies, and scientific organizations have joined to form the Alliance for Childhood Cancer to support quality cancer care for children and adolescents.

FDA Warns Internet Pharmacies About Nicotine Lollipops, Lip Balms

June 01, 2002

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-The Food and Drug Administration has warned three Internet pharmacies selling nicotine-laced lollipops and lip balms as smoking cessation aids that the products appear to be illegal and ordered them pulled from the marketplace.

Haptoglobin-Alpha, Potential Marker for Ovarian Cancer, Identified

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Haptoglobin-alpha, a subunit of the hemoglobin-binding protein haptoglobin, may be a useful marker for ovarian cancer, according to results presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 3687).

Xerostomia a Late Complication of Radiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer

June 01, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida-Xerostomia, or mouth dryness, typically seen acutely with head and neck radiation, is also the most common late complication following radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, Avraham (Avi) Eisbruch, MD, said at the LENT (Late Effects of Normal Tissues) IV workshop on late effects criteria and applications. Dr. Eisbruch is associate professor of radiation oncology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor.

Tamoxifen Standard for Preventing Breast Cancer Recurrence

June 01, 2002

ASCO-Although aromatase inhibitors show promise for preventing recurrence following surgery in women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, tamoxifen (Nolvadex) remains the standard of care, according to an evidence-based technology assessment of the aromatase inhibitors, sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The ASCO expert panel found that the available data on aromatase inhibitors for this indication do not support routine use outside of clinical trials.

Cancer Survivorship Research Should Aim to Enhance Quality of Life

June 01, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida-As cancer survival increases, outcomes research must focus on both quality of life and length of survival, and must define and quantify late effects of cancer treatment, Noreen Aziz, MD, PhD, MPH, said at the Late Effects of Normal Tissues (LENT) IV workshop on late effects criteria and applications.

Ingredient in Red Wine Enhances Tumor Cell Death

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-When combined with TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), resveratrol-an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavinoid found in red wine-promotes apoptosis in a variety of cancers, including difficult-to-treat brain cancers, according to a study presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 4238).

Isotretinoin Prostate Cancer Trial

June 01, 2002

NEW YORK-The final report of a phase II study suggests that the early addition of 13-cis-retinoic acid (isotretinoin, Acutane) to hormone therapy may enhance PSA responses in advanced androgen-dependent prostate cancer. Anna C. Ferrari, MD, of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, presented the results at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XIX (abstract 58).

RhoC May Be a Marker for Small, Aggressive Breast Cancers

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Complete axillary lymph node dissection followed by chemotherapy is standard treatment for larger breast tumors, but it is less frequently performed when the tumor is smaller than 1 cm. Still, approximately 5% to 8% of these small breast tumors are very aggressive. Currently, there is no way to identify which of these small tumors are more likely to metastasize and thus should receive more appropriate treatment.

At Each Phase, Patients—and Their Oncology Nurses—Face Distinct Challenges

June 01, 2002

TORONTO-Beyond its physical effects, ovarian cancer presents women with difficult emotional, social, and spiritual challenges every step of the way. Each of the disease’s phases, from the first suspicions of something seriously wrong, through diagnosis, treatment, survival, possible relapse, and terminal disease, has its own particular psychosocial impact and its own set of needs, said Margaret I. Fitch, RN, PhD, at an industry-sponsored symposium held in conjunction with the Oncology Nursing Society annual meeting.

Hypothyroidism Enhances High-Dose Tamoxifen in Glioma

June 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Although tamoxifen (Nolvadex) kills glioma cells in culture, it has not been effective in prolonging survival in patients with recurrent glioma. A study presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 2442), however, found that pretreating with propylthiouracil and Lugol’s solution (a solution of potassium iodide and iodine) to induce chemical hypothyroidism prior to high-dose tamoxifen therapy resulted in dramatic increases in survival time in these patients.

FDA Will Defend Pediatric Drug Rule in Court

June 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-The Bush Administration has abandoned plans to suspend the Food and Drug Administration’s "pediatric rule," which requires pharmaceutical companies to study the use of drugs in pediatric patients when seeking new drug applications.

Aerobic Exercise Reduces Bone Wasting in Patients Receiving Chemotherapy

June 01, 2002

PORTLAND,Oregon-Aerobic exercise can sharply reduce the bone-wasting effects of chemotherapy, according to Anna L. Schwartz, PhD, associate professor and research scientist at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing in Portland. Osteoporosis is becoming an increasingly common and troublesome side effect of chemotherapy, particularly in breast cancer, she reported. In addition to the treatment regimens, premature menopause and inactivity all contribute to a decline in bone mineral density (BMD). Aerobic exercise can reduce this decline and help prevent treatment-related weight gain while increasing muscle strength.

Antibiotic Inhibits Key Protein in Two Cancer Cell Pathways

June 01, 2002

NEW YORK-A drug that targets a protein important to two cancer cell pathways will be tested in combination with paclitaxel (Taxol) in phase II clinical trials slated to begin soon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Mayo Clinic, Neal Rosen, MD, PhD, said at a "Meet the Experts" media briefing sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Sleep Promotion Program Can Relieve Some Postchemotherapy Fatigue Among Breast Cancer Patients

June 01, 2002

OMAHA-New research shows that some postchemotherapy fatigue in breast cancer patients is the result of disordered sleep and can be relieved by sleep intervention programs. At the 27th Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society, Ann M. Berger, PhD, RN, AOCN, reported promising data from one such program that found that daily activity levels, fatigue, and quality of sleep all improved in cancer patients who went through a sleep intervention program. Dr. Berger is associate professor and advanced practice nurse at the University of Nebraska College of Nursing in Omaha.

Chemo Doublets Should Be Standard Treatment for Advanced NSCLC

June 01, 2002

ASCO-A new study from the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB 9730) shows that chemotherapy doublets should be the standard treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), Rogerio C. Lilenbaum, MD, reported at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 2).

Exercise Fights Fatigue, Loss of Physical Function in Breast Cancer Patients

June 01, 2002

BALTIMORE-New research indicates that exercise can play a significant role in combating fatigue related to cancer treatment and the accompanying loss of function fatigue brings, according to Victoria Mock, DNSc, RN. Dr. Mock is the American Cancer Society Professor of Oncology Nursing at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Director of Nursing Research Center at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Controlling Cancer Pain Requires Detailed Planning and Persistent Effort by Committed Interdisciplinary Team

June 01, 2002

BALTIMORE-Between 65% and 85% of advanced cancer patients suffer pain, but between 85% and 95% of those patients, if properly treated, can experience relief. Providing effective pain management is a multidisciplinary effort requiring detailed planning and persistent implementation by a team committed to using a variety of resources and techniques. These concepts and how they are integrated into the Johns Hopkins approach to pain management were described by Suzanne A. Nesbit, PharmD, BCPS, clinical specialist in pain management in the Department of Pharmacy at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and Kathy Smolinski, LCSW-C, senior clinical social worker in the Cancer Pain Service of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Molecular Targeting Offers Specific Drugs for Specific Cancers

June 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-The understanding of carcinogenesis that has emerged from molecular and genetic studies has provided a new vision of treatment, commonly called molecular targeting. In it, debilitating cytotoxic drugs will give way to agents that target specific proteins that mark specific cancer cells.

Beginning Palliative Care Early May Allow Patients to Better Tolerate Treatment

June 01, 2002

NEW YORK CITY-Integrating palliative care early in the course of cancer treatment may permit patients to tolerate their treatments better and have a better quality of life, according to Rose Anne Indelicato, ANP, OCN. A nurse practitioner, Department of Pain Management and Palliative Care, at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, Ms. Indelicato described the multifaceted roles of department’s advanced practice nurses (APNs). In addition to education and research, APNs are responsible for direct patient care, much of it over the telephone. Their patients received assessment of pain and symptom management earlier in their disease which may promote longer survival, Ms. Indelicato noted.

Faslodex Gets FDA Approval for Use in Advanced Breast Cancer

June 01, 2002

WILMINGTON, Delaware-The US Food and Drug Administration has granted approval to AstraZeneca’s breast cancer drug Faslodex (fulvestrant) Injection for treatment of hormone-receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women with disease progression following antiestrogen therapy, such as tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Faslodex is a selective estrogen-receptor antagonist without known agonist effects.

New Outpatient Screening Tool Pinpoints Problems During Cancer Treatment

June 01, 2002

BALTIMORE-Medical personnel are often "dreadful" at singling out individuals facing mood disturbances, emotional issues, and practical problems that can cause severe distress during cancer treatment, according to Matthew Loscalzo, MSW, director of patient and family services and co-director of oncology pain services at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. A new screening and assessment tool used at the onset of treatment, however, identifies the issues most important to each individual patient and allows staff to promptly arrange for needed services, he told an industry-sponsored symposium held in conjunction with the Oncology Nursing Society annual meeting.

Anemia Is an Important, But Often Ignored, Cause of Fatigue in Cancer Patients

June 01, 2002

BALTIMORE-Fatigue is a universally recognized complication of cancer, caused by both the disease itself and its treatment, but the role of anemia in causing fatigue has received insufficient attention, according to MiKaela Olsen, RN, MS. This oversight has led to undertreatment of anemia, but proper evaluation and treatment can reduce anemia and the fatigue and other troubling symptoms it causes, she said at an industry-sponsored symposium held in conjunction with the Oncology Nursing Society annual meeting. Ms. Olsen is an oncology/bone marrow transplant/hematology clinical nurse specialist at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Aromatherapy Massage Studies Show Promising Quality of Life Results

June 01, 2002

NEW YORK-Aromatherapy massage reduces short-term anxiety in cancer patients, improves quality of life (QOL), and is perceived by cancer patients as being beneficial, according to results to date from evaluations conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom.

Patients and Their Caregivers Learn to Live in the Moment

June 01, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC-"On the day that changed my life, I heard the words, ‘Congratulations! It’s a girl!’ followed by, ‘Oh, no-this is advanced ovarian cancer," Joan Sommer, RN, recalled. "I kept thinking, Baby? Cancer? Baby? Cancer? How can this be?"

Low but Real Risk of Lymphedema Reported After Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

June 01, 2002

EVANSTON, Illinois-Although biopsy of sentinel lymph nodes is often considered an almost risk-free procedure in the staging of breast cancer, a retrospective chart review showed a surprising incidence of lymphedema associated with this procedure. Carole H. Martz, RN, MS, and colleagues at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Illinois reported a 3% risk of lymphedema after sentinel lymph node biopsy (SNLB, n = 303), compared to a 17% risk after axillary dissection (n = 117).

Panel Creates ‘Single Language’ for Grading Delayed Effects

June 01, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida-New cancer regimens are sometimes a double-edged sword, offering better survival but also delayed toxicity affecting quality of life. At the Late Effects of Normal Tissues (LENT) IV workshop, an international, multidisciplinary panel tackled the Herculean task of defining, grading, and reporting chronic toxicity. The workshop included representatives from more than 10 countries, including two European organizations.

Medicare to Pay for Image Guidance in Biopsy of Palpable Breast Lesions

June 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Medicare will soon cover image guidance techniques, such as stereotactic systems and ultrasound, used to biopsy palpable breast lesions that are difficult to biopsy with palpitation alone. However, contractors who administer Medicare benefits "have the discretion to decide what types of palpable lesions are difficult to biopsy using palpitation," the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. The new coverage will begin later this year and will not be retroactive. Medicare has covered image guidance to assist the biopsy of nonpalpable lesions since 1999.