Our continuing professional development (CPD) articles are designed to assist with your nursing skills and practice.
Why you should read this article: • To learn about the risks of exposure to systemic anticancer therapy agents • To read about methods of minimising the risk of exposure to systemic anticancer therapy agents • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers) • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers) Many agents used for systemic anticancer therapy (SACT), which include chemotherapy drugs, monoclonal antibodies and other biological therapies, are known to be carcinogenic, teratogenic and mutagenic. Occupational exposure to SACT agents carries a proven risk of short- and long-term adverse health effects such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, hair loss, impaired fertility and cancer. The risk of contamination exists not only for staff who prepare or administer SACT agents, but also for those involved in transport, storage and waste disposal. In the UK, the handling of SACT agents is subject to a series of laws, regulations and guidelines. However, there are still inconsistencies in practice and a lack of awareness of the risks involved and need for training. The necessary preventive measures are not always in place and some staff remain exposed to cytotoxic agents. Furthermore, the risk of occupational exposure to SACT agents has intensified in recent years due to a significant increase in their use. This article prompts nurses to reflect on the health risks associated with handling SACT agents and the preventive and protective measures required.
Use of CDK4 and CDK6 inhibitors in patients with breast cancer
Oral complications can cause distress, long-term complications and increased morbidity
A systematic approach for nurses at any level or experience to engage with service evaluation
Receiving a new diagnosis of cancer or of its recurrence is distressing and there are increasing numbers of people living with the disease, some taking continuous treatment, as well as others who have been cured. Living with cancer and the possibility of recurrence requires psychological strength to deal with the treatment, effects of the illness and uncertainty about the future. The attributes of self-efficacy and psychological well-being can reduce the effects of chronic stress. Excellent symptom control is essential and fatigue, the most prevalent and often most distressing symptom for those with cancer, requires targeted support. Well-being and psychological resilience may be improved by specific actions and psychological approaches, some of which are encompassed by Foresight Mental Capital and Well-being Project’s (2008) five ways to well-being framework, which can be used to deliver personalised care. This is the second of a two-part article that reviews interventions promoting well-being and resilience in patients living with cancer. It describes the framework and suggests practical ways in which clinicians can integrate it and other interventions into clinical practice. It also offers time out exercises and a multiple choice quiz to aid readers’ learning and test their knowledge.
There is increasing recognition of the importance of making the Recovery Package available to more people affected by cancer. The cancer treatment summary is one of the core components of the Recovery Package and aims to improve communication between secondary and primary care, and help patients manage their care following treatment. The Somerset, Wiltshire, Avon and Gloucestershire Cancer Alliance is developing a suite of best practice treatment summary templates for each cancer site to improve the quality of the information in the documents, and to support cancer teams to begin the process of introducing them to practice.
Oral vinorelbine has been a well-established cytotoxic treatment for non-small cell lung cancer and metastatic breast cancer since 2004. This article summarises the applications of the drug, the advantages and challenges of using an oral agent in palliative oncology settings and how oral vinorelbine has been used to develop nurse-led services and chemotherapy outside traditional hospital environments. The article includes two case studies to place this treatment in a clinical context.
Advance care planning (ACP) is a process of establishing a person’s preferences and wishes, which can then be used to inform future care. These conversations are often held with a healthcare professional and may include a family member. ACP is one method of promoting person-centred care and respecting choice when a person may have lost capacity and be unable to communicate what matters to them. This article aims to explore the advantages of, and challenges to, the ACP process in the context of end of life care. It examines the practicalities of establishing patients’ preferences and wishes from a clinical perspective. Fictitious case studies based on numerous clinical encounters are used to illustrate the complexities of this process.
Treatment regimens involving the monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody rituximab are the standard of care for patients with CD20-positive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It has conventionally been given by intravenous (IV) infusion, which requires intermittent patient monitoring during administration. A subcutaneous (SC) formulation is also available for the treatment of NHL, which takes less time to administer and could simplify treatment. With the newer formulation available, there is an ongoing need for education and understanding from the patient’s and the healthcare professional’s perspective. The authors review their personal experience of rituximab IV and SC formulations together with data on their safety, and provide an overview of the use of SC formulation in daily nursing practice.
Nurses should understand the role and purpose of the new generation of therapies available for patients with cancer. One such drug is the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor olaparib (Lynparza™▼). As it becomes available, it will be important for nurses to understand how it works, how to anticipate any side effects and how to manage these effectively. This article describes the importance of BRCA gene mutations in women with ovarian cancer and introduces olaparib, a targeted agent for use in these women in accordance with its label indication.
This article provides nurses with an update on diagnosis, management and care of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a complex group of disorders of the bone marrow. MDS has wide-ranging effects on patients’ lives. Understanding the effect of a diagnosis of MDS on patients’ quality of life is an important part of the nursing role and includes consideration of physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing. Many treatment options are available and nurses can educate patients on recognising and managing side effects. While there have been promising developments in management, nurses should ensure that patients and their families have a realistic understanding of MDS and ensure that they are aware that treatments other than haematopoietic stem cell transplantation are non-curative.
Preventing medication errors is essential to maintain a safe healthcare system