Nurses Are Key in Managing Adverse Events in Breast Cancer


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Oncology nurses are key players when it comes to managing adverse events (AEs) for patients with breast cancer, explained Debu Tripathy, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Tripathy, who is also the editor in chief of CURE, recently sat down at the Miami Breast Cancer Conference to discuss the importance of oncology nurses in breast cancer care and offered insight as to how they can keep up-to-date with the constant advancements in the field.

What role does the oncology nurse play when it comes to managing AEs in patients being treated for breast cancer? Are there any AEs that are particularly worrisome that they should look out for? 

Oncology nurses are such important components of our care. They interact directly with patients in a way that allows them to monitor what's going on at a granular level. Oncology nurses are great at making sure they are staying on the pulse of patient symptoms, not only when they're in the clinic, but when they call in with symptoms. More and more people are using telemedicine to report their symptoms. 

Oncology nurses are trained to recognize the common side effects that we see, and even some of the less common ones. To intervene early is so important. Things like diarrhea and dehydration—we need to know about those and monitor them early. Things like complications of chemo that are also common with low white blood cell counts and infections or fevers, those need to be intervened right away. 

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