ONCOLOGY Vol 20 No 10_Suppl_Nurse_Ed | Oncology

Assessing Cancer Pain in the Adult Patient

September 01, 2006

The high prevalence of pain in the cancer population underscores why pain management is integral to comprehensive cancer care. How well pain is controlled can have a profound effect on the cancer experience for both patient and family. The goals of pain assessment are to prevent pain if possible, and to identify pain immediately should it occur. This can be facilitated by standardized screening of all cancer patients for pain, on a routine basis, across care settings. A comprehensive assessment of pain follows if a patient reports pain that is not being adequately managed. Oncology nurses play a huge role in pain assessment and management throughout the course of a patient's disease. A basic understanding of the types of pain seen in the cancer population as well as inferred neurophysiologic pain mechanisms and temporal patterns of pain can help focus the pain assessment. This in turn will lead to targeted pain management strategies

Prechemotherapy Assessment of Neutropenic Risk

September 01, 2006

Chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia (FN) predisposes patients to life-threatening infections and typically requires hospitalization. The goal was to investigate whether a risk assessment tool aligned with national guidelines could help identify patients at risk of FN and reduce FN-related hospitalizations. Beginning in October 2004, oncology nurses applied the new risk assessment tool to all patients initiating chemotherapy or a new regimen. Patients at risk for FN received prophylactic colony-stimulating factor. Charts for 189 patients receiving chemotherapy in fiscal year 2005 (FY05) were compared with charts of 155 patients receiving chemotherapy in FY04, before the tool was implemented. The incidence of FN-related hospitalization declined by 78%, from 9.7% in FY04 to 2.1% in FY05 (P = .003). Total hospital days decreased from 117 to 24. Routine systematic evaluation by oncology nurses improves recognition of patients at risk of FN and substantially reduces FN-related hospitalization.

Monoclonal Antibodies and Side-Effect Management

September 01, 2006

Monoclonal antibodies are increasingly becoming a standard part of clinical cancer treatment. Eight monoclonal antibodies are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cancer in the United States. Oncology nurses are expected to be familiar with these agents, their indications, and their adverse effects, to provide appropriate care and symptom management to patients receiving these agents, and to adequately educate patients and families about these treatments and their specific and overlapping side effects. Monoclonal antibody mechanisms of action and indications, infusion guidelines, and symptom management are outlined in this article.

Educating Patients About Pain Management

September 01, 2006

Major deficiencies in the management of cancer-related pain are well documented and impact all dimensions of the patient's life, including physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being.

Improving Adherence to Endocrine Therapies: The Role of Advanced Practice Nurses

September 01, 2006

With the trend toward the use of oral rather than intravenous therapies for cancer, nonadherence to treatment has become an increasing concern. Advanced practice nurses are in a good position to assess and monitor adherence to oral endocrine therapies. Research on adherence has been limited; to date there are no specific published guidelines for ensuring adherence to endocrine regimens. However, studies have identified many factors that may lead to nonadherence, including demographic, social, and psychological characteristics of the patient; characteristics of the disease and the treatment regimen; and the nature and quality of the patient/clinician relationship. These factors provide a framework that advanced practice nurses can use to identify potential problems and to work collaboratively with patients.

A Patient on Targeted Therapy: Cetuximab

September 01, 2006

Jeff is a 47-year-old white male who presented to his primary care provider complaining of having had swollen lymph nodes in the right neck for 2 months. He also complained of nasal stuffiness and sore throat. Physical exam found lymphadenopathy in the left cervical triangle less than 2 cm in diameter. He smokes about 2 packs of cigarettes a day and has a 60 pack-year history of smoking. He has been a cabinet-maker for almost 20 years. He has no other significant medical history and is not on any regular medications. He is a social drinker and denies any illicit drug use. He was treated with an antibiotic for 10 days, but on return the lymphadenopathy appeared slightly enlarged. He was sent to an ear, nose, and throat specialist who biopsied the nodal mass. Following an extensive workup, he was diagnosed with stage III (T2, N1, M0) squamous cell carcinoma of the nasopharynx.