Guiding Patients Toward Health

Caring for patients with cancer can be complex, especially when there is advanced disease; however, even patients who are considered cured or in remission have special considerations that may affect their future health, such as an increased risk of developing a new primary malignancy.

Caring for patients with cancer can be complex, especially when there is advanced disease; however, even patients who are considered cured or in remission have special considerations that may affect their future health, such as an increased risk of developing a new primary malignancy. The new malignancy sometimes results from a genetic predisposition or from prior cancer treatment with radiation or chemotherapy, but in many cases it may be avoidable. Did you know that smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol accounts for approximately 35% of second primary cancers in cancer survivors? Nurses can be instrumental in guiding their patients to making more healthful decisions, such as quitting smoking, reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, eating healthfully, engaging in physical activity, and reducing stress. In our cover story, “New Primary Malignancies: Promoting Lifestyle Changes to Minimize Risk”, Guido R. Zanni, PhD, discusses the impact of lifestyle factors on the risk of new primary malignancies in cancer survivors. Lisa Marie Bernardo, PhD, discusses three mind- body fitness options that may help patients with cancer reduce stress levels and to be more active, both of which go a long way in improving health and outcomes.

It is estimated that only 3% to 5% of adult patients with cancer enroll in a clinical trial, yet these trials are crucial to advancing cancer care and improving outcomes. While many patients don’t enroll because they are unaware of a trial, in some cases fear prevents them from participating. Patients may be afraid that they will become a “guinea pig” or won’t receive active treatment. In Nurse to Patient, a new department that we are launching starting with this issue, you will find answers to some of the questions patients may have about clinical trials. This new department serves to provide you with an educational resource for your patients. If you’d like an electronic copy so that you can print copies for distribution to your patients or there is a topic you’d like to see covered in a future Nurse to Patient, please contact cloguidice@onclive.com.

Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year!