Supportive Care

By assigning weight to health outcomes and calculating the benefits from raloxifene compared with placebo and from tamoxifen compared with placebo, researchers developed a benefit/risk index for the use of these agents as chemo preventives in postmenopausal women at high risk for breast cancer. As seen in the indices in the article, the researchers found raloxifene better than tamoxifen for women with a uterus; for women without a uterus, the profiles were similar.

Cancer treatment–induced diarrhea (CTID) occurs in 50% to 80% of patients receiving chemo therapy and 50% of patients undergoing radiotherapy. Older patients, women, patients on an irinotecan-containing regimen, and patients treated in the adjuvant setting are at higher risk of CTID, reported Kelly Markey, PharmD, BCOP. Markey is a clinical pharmacist with the gastrointestinal tumor program at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and discussed CTID at the annual meeting of the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association.

Rowena Schwartz, PharmD, BCOPThe median age for someone to receive a cancer diagnosis is 67 years according to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database and even higher for certain malignancies. For example, many gastrointestinal cancers are diagnosed in septuagenarians.

Effective management of breakthrough cancer pain requires optimizing background therapy for chronic pain and accurately assessing the type of breakthrough pain, said presenters at the 45th American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exposition.

“Knowing the type of breakthrough cancer pain can help match the right drug with the right goal,” said Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, who is professor and vice chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore.

Every physician has a preferred way of writing prescription instructions, and pharmacists differ in how they translate those instructions to the pill bottle. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Wolf and associates found that the lack of a universal medication schedule (UMS) to standardize how prescriptions are written and filled contributes to poor patient adherence and increases safety concerns.
ORLANDO—Patients often do not understand the terms clinicians use to describe their hematologic malignancies, such as myelodysplastic syndrome, which may lead to misunderstandings about their disease. 

Guidelines specific to cancer patients needed
More education about assessment and management of cardiotoxicity would strengthen the quality of nursing care of cancer patients, according to a study presented at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 2010 Advanced Practice Nursing /Institutes of Learning (APN/IOL)Conference in Orlando, Florida.

ORLANDO—Women who are on intravenous (IV) chemotherapy regimens for recurrent ovarian carcinoma are at risk for nonadherence or nonpersistence with their treatment. But telephone support by an advance practice nurse (APN) can lower this risk and even boost compliance, a new, nonrandomized study suggests.

A new intervention designed to help mothers cope with the stresses associated with their child’s cancer appears to be more effective long term compared with other psychological approaches, according to a study reported at the 42nd Congress of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology.
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