Improving management of patients with advanced cancer
Department of Urology, King's College Hospital, London, United Kingdom
Abstract: Development of bone metastases in patients with advanced cancer is associated with skeletal-related events (SREs) such as pathologic fractures, spinal cord compression, the requirement for surgery or palliative radiotherapy to bone, and hypercalcemia of malignancy. Skeletal morbidity may reduce patient mobility, limit functional independence, and impair quality of life (QOL). Proactive management of new or worsening bone pain or motor impairment is crucial because of the potential for rapid progression of symptoms. Administration of bisphosphonate therapy as a monthly infusion to patients with bone metastases prevents or delays the onset and reduces the frequency of SREs and provides clinically meaningful improvements in bone pain and QOL. In addition to administration of therapy, the monthly infusion visit allows a dedicated team of healthcare professionals to regularly assess SREs, response to therapy, adverse events (AEs), QOL, and adherence to oral medications and supplements. The continuity of care that occurs during the monthly infusion visit provides oncology nurses with an opportunity to educate patients about effective strategies to manage SREs and AEs. In addition, regular interaction provides oncology nurses with an opportunity to recognize and proactively address subtle changes in the patients' medical condition. Using a multidisciplinary medical team also eliminates barriers between the various healthcare professionals involved in patient management. Consequently, the monthly infusion visit can result in effective patient management and improved clinical outcomes in patients with malignant bone disease.
Keywords: adverse events, bisphosphonates, bone metastases, quality of life, skeletal-related events, treatment adherence
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