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Fatigue is the Most Important Symptom for Advanced Cancer Patients Who Have Had Chemotherapy

Zeeshan Butt, Sarah K. Rosenbloom, Amy P. Abernethy, Jennifer L. Beaumont, Diane Paul, Debra Hampton, Paul B. Jacobsen, Karen L. Syrjala, Jamie H. Von Roenn, and David Cella

Cancer fatigue has been defined and described as an important problem. However, few studies have assessed the relative importance of fatigue compared with other patient symptoms and concerns. To explore this issue, the authors surveyed 534 patients and 91 physician experts from 5 NCCN member institutions and community support agencies. Specifically, they asked patients with advanced bladder, brain, breast, colorectal, head and neck, hepatobiliary/pancreatic, kidney, lung, ovarian, or prostate cancer or lymphoma about their “most important symptoms or concerns to monitor.” Across the entire sample, and individually for patients with 9 cancer types, fatigue emerged as the top-ranked symptom. Fatigue was also ranked most important among patients with 10 of 11 cancer types when asked to rank lists of common concerns. Patient fatigue ratings were most strongly associated with malaise (r = 0.50) and difficulties with activities of daily living, pain, and quality of life. Expert ratings of how much fatigue is attributable to disease versus treatment mostly suggested that both play an important role, with disease-related factors predominant in hepatobiliary and lung cancer, and treatment-related factors playing a stronger role in head and neck cancer.

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Do Clinical Trials Belong in Clinical Guidelines?

Harold J. Burstein

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Centers of Excellence: What Should They Be?

David C. Hohn

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Colorectal Cancer Management: Evolving Recommendations

Paul F. Engstrom

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Celebrating the New

Kimberly Callan

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The NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium™

William T. McGivney

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Thoughts on the “Cancer Industry”

Joan S. McClure

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The CMS 2006 Quality in Oncology Demonstration Project and NCCN Guidelines

William T. McGivney

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Status of Cancer Care at Network Sites of the Nation’s Academic Cancer Centers

Stanton L. Gerson, Kate Shaw, Louis B. Harrison, Randall F. Holcombe, Laura Hutchins, Carrie B. Lee, Patrick J. Loehrer Sr, Daniel Mulkerin, W. Thomas Purcell, Lois Teston, Louis M. Weiner, and George J. Weiner

Background: Cancer care coordination across major academic medical centers and their networks is evolving rapidly, but the spectrum of organizational efforts has not been described. We conducted a mixed-methods survey of leading cancer centers and their networks to document care coordination and identify opportunities to improve geographically dispersed care. Methods: A mixed-methods survey was sent to 91 cancer centers in the United States and Canada. We analyzed the number and locations of network sites; access to electronic medical records (EMRs); clinical research support and participation at networks; use of patient navigators, care paths, and quality measures; and physician workforce. Responses were collected via Qualtrics software between September 2017 and December 2018. Results: Of the 69 responding cancer centers, 74% were NCI-designated. Eighty-seven percent of respondents were part of a matrix health system, and 13% were freestanding. Fifty-six reported having network sites. Forty-three respondents use navigators for disease-specific populations, and 24 use them for all patients. Thirty-five respondents use ≥1 types of care path. Fifty-seven percent of networks had complete, integrated access to their main center’s EMRs. Thirty-nine respondents said the main center provides funding for clinical research at networks, with 22 reporting the main center provides all funding. Thirty-five said the main center provided pharmacy support at the networks, with 15 indicating the main center provides 100% pharmacy support. Certification program participation varied extensively across networks. Conclusions: The data show academic cancer centers have extensive involvement in network cancer care, often extending into rural communities. Coordinating care through improved clinical trial access and greater use of patient navigation, care paths, coordinated EMRs, and quality measures is likely to improve patient outcomes. Although it is premature to draw firm conclusions, the survey results are appropriate for mapping next steps and data queries.

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In Memoriam: Christopher E. Desch, MD

Rodger J. Winn