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Tami Borneman, Barbara F. Piper, Virginia Chih-Yi Sun, Marianna Koczywas, Gwen Uman and Betty Ferrell

Fatigue, despite being the most common and distressing symptom in cancer, is often unrelieved because of numerous patient, provider, and system barriers. The overall purpose of this 5-year prospective clinical trial is to translate the NCCN Cancer-Related Fatigue Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology and NCCN Adult Cancer Pain Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology into practice and develop a translational interventional model that can be replicated across settings. This article focuses on one NCCN member institution's experience related to the first phase of the NCCN Cancer-Related Fatigue Guidelines implementation, describing usual care compared with evidence-based guidelines. Phase 1 of this 3-phased clinical trial compared the usual care of fatigue with that administered according to the NCCN guidelines. Eligibility criteria included age 18 years or older; English-speaking; diagnosed with breast, lung, colon, or prostate cancer; and fatigue and/or pain ratings of 4 or more on a 0 to 10 screening scale. Research nurses screened all available subjects in a cancer center medical oncology clinic to identify those meeting these criteria. Instruments included the Piper Fatigue Scale, a Fatigue Barriers Scale, a Fatigue Knowledge Scale, and a Fatigue Chart Audit Tool. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in data analysis. At baseline, 45 patients had fatigue only (≥ 4) and 24 had both fatigue and pain (≥ 4). This combined sample (N = 69) was predominantly Caucasian (65%), female (63%), an average of 60 years old, diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 breast cancer, and undergoing treatment (82%). The most common barriers noted were patients' belief that physicians would introduce the subject of fatigue if it was important (patient barrier); lack of fatigue documentation (professional barrier); and lack of supportive care referrals (system barrier). Findings showed several patient, professional, and system barriers that distinguish usual care from that recommended by the NCCN Cancer-Related Fatigue Guidelines. Phase 2, the intervention model, is designed to decrease these barriers and improve patient outcomes over time, and is in progress.

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Laura Bourdeanu, Thehang Luu, Norma Baker, Suzanne Swain-Cabriales, Cathie T. Chung, Joanne Mortimer, Arti Hurria, Sandra Helton, David Smith, Betty Ferrell, Gloria Juarez and George Somlo

Delays between presentation and treatment could have a significant effect on breast cancer mortality. The authors hypothesized that patient, physician, and system barriers are all responsible for treatment delays. Therefore, a study was conducted to define prevalent barriers to treatment from the patient’s perspective. A modified 43-item Likert-scale questionnaire was administered to patients with clinical stage III locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) who had experienced a delay in treatment of 3 months or more. Between October 2008 and January 2010, 153 patients presented with LABC; 43 patients (28.1%) met eligibility, and 40 completed the questionnaire. Among the patient barriers reported, 38% of patients delayed care for fear of losing their breast and 47% awaited previously scheduled routine appointments instead of seeking care. Among the physician barriers reported, 20% of physicians of initial contact did not believe the breast lump/symptom was related to cancer and 15% did not believe it needed a biopsy. Among the system barriers reported, the most prevalent were delays in performing diagnostic tests and obtaining insurance authorization for tests, treatment, or physician visits. Substantial delays were seen in 28.1% of patients from presentation to when they sought therapy at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. The high prevalence of patient barriers versus physician/system barriers suggests that increased educational efforts for patients and health care professionals are needed.

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Robert A. Swarm, Amy Pickar Abernethy, Doralina L. Anghelescu, Costantino Benedetti, Sorin Buga, Charles Cleeland, Oscar A. deLeon-Casasola, June G. Eilers, Betty Ferrell, Mark Green, Nora A. Janjan, Mihir M. Kamdar, Michael H. Levy, Maureen Lynch, Rachel M. McDowell, Natalie Moryl, Suzanne A. Nesbit, Judith A. Paice, Michael W. Rabow, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan G. Urba, Sharon M. Weinstein, Mary Dwyer and Rashmi Kumar

Pain is a common symptom associated with cancer and its treatment. Pain management is an important aspect of oncologic care, and unrelieved pain significantly comprises overall quality of life. These NCCN Guidelines list the principles of management and acknowledge the range of complex decisions faced in the management oncologic pain. In addition to pain assessment techniques, these guidelines provide principles of use, dosing, management of adverse effects, and safe handling procedures of pharmacologic therapies and discuss a multidisciplinary approach for the management of cancer pain.

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Robert Swarm, Amy Pickar Abernethy, Doralina L. Anghelescu, Costantino Benedetti, Craig D. Blinderman, Barry Boston, Charles Cleeland, Nessa Coyle, Oscar A. deLeon-Casasola, June G. Eilers, Betty Ferrell, Nora A. Janjan, Sloan Beth Karver, Michael H. Levy, Maureen Lynch, Natalie Moryl, Barbara A. Murphy, Suzanne A. Nesbit, Linda Oakes, Eugenie A. Obbens, Judith A. Paice, Michael W. Rabow, Karen L. Syrjala, Susan Urba and Sharon M. Weinstein

Overview Pain, defined as “a sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage,”1 is one of the most common symptoms associated with cancer. Cancer pain or cancer-related pain is distinct from pain experienced by patients without malignancies. Pain occurs in approximately one quarter of patients with newly diagnosed malignancies, one third of patients undergoing treatment, and three quarters of patients with advanced disease,2–4 and is one of the symptoms patients fear most. Unrelieved pain denies patients comfort and greatly affects their activities, motivation, interactions with family and friends, and overall quality of life. The importance of relieving pain and availability of effective therapies make it imperative that physicians and nurses caring for these patients be adept at the assessment and treatment of cancer pain.5–7 This requires familiarity with the pathogenesis of cancer pain; pain assessment techniques; common barriers to the delivery of appropriate analgesia; and pertinent pharmacologic, anesthetic, neurosurgical, and behavioral approaches to the treatment of cancer pain. The most widely accepted algorithm for the treatment of cancer pain was developed by the WHO.8,9 It suggests that patients with pain be started on acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). If this is not sufficient, patients should be escalated to a weak opioid, such as codeine, and then to a strong opioid, such as morphine. Although this algorithm has served as an excellent teaching tool, the management of cancer pain is considerably more complex than this 3-tiered “cancer pain ladder”...