When caring for patients with a new cancer diagnosis, oncology nurses generally have clear and distinct plans to assist each patient through the phases of diagnosis and treatment. Nurses provide guidance, support, and well-defined patient education regarding the planned treatment, as well as anticipatory guidance regarding management of side effects and emotional responses to diagnosis and treatment.
Hypertension (HTN) is prevalent in the general population, particularly in individuals over the age of 60 years. More than 50% of individuals aged 60 to 69 years and more than 75% of individuals age 70 or older are affected.
One of the potential side effects of chemotherapy is cardiac toxicity. The resulting damage to the heart can range from non–life-threatening events to devastating heart failure. The spectrum of these events can occur almost immediately, during a drug infusion, or as a delayed complication later in the patient’s life. Oncology nurses not only need to be familiar with identifying and intervening in acute cardiac events, but also in some instances will need to monitor for delayed cardiac toxicities during the continuum of the patient’s life.
Hospice care continues to be underutilized. Indeed, owing to untimely referrals, many patients who begin hospice care unfortunately die shortly thereafter, having never received the full benefits provided by hospice. In her excellent article, Dr. Prince-Paul provides a case example that demonstrates the familiar multifaceted issues faced by cancer patients nearing end of life and discusses how hospice care could be of tremendous benefit to the patient, family, and professional.
Ms. D is a 45-year-old woman with ovarian cancer and hepatic metastatic disease. She has received multimodal treatment over the past 5 years. Ms. D lives in her own home, is divorced, and is a single parent of two adolescent children. Her mother is her primary caregiver and also has a deteriorating health condition.
The patient, "JD," is a 62-year-old Caucasian female who had stage IV non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosed 3 months ago. Her medical history is significant for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She quit smoking cigarettes more than 6 months ago after having smoked a pack per day for 40 years.
Change is in the air—and I don’t just mean the arrival of spring. The current national focus on health care is clearly evident from many quarters, including policy makers, health care institutions, and clinical staff. In addition to the discussion on health care coverage, there is an increasing emphasis on patient-centered care. As a result, we have before us a unique opportunity to assure the inclusion of survivorship and end-of-life care as formal parts of the health care continuum.
The cytochrome P450 microenzyme system has been an important protective system for living things for at least 3 billion years. It is a group or superfamily of isoenzymes that live in the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial membrane of cells, and initially were responsible for detoxifying any poisons that were inhaled or ingested. As a result, these enzymes are found in the nose, saliva, kidneys, and lungs, and in greater numbers in the small intestines and liver. Cytochrome P450s account for about 75% of total metabolism and are important in oxidative metabolism—chemical modification/degradation of drugs.
When my doctor told me that I would have to put my life on hold at age 25 because tests confirmed that I had Hodgkin’s disease—cancer!—my life changed totally. I had to quit my job, move back in with my parents, and wonder about the quantity and quality of the rest of my life.
In their informative article, Richard O’Hara and Diane Blum touch on several key challenges of cancer survivorship. Looking at cancer through the lens of social concerns and developmental issues, they have brought important psychosocial aspects of survivorship to the forefront of our attention, with a particular focus on the domain of social well-being within the parameters of interpersonal relationships, and financial, employment, insurance, and legal issues.