Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) or advanced breast cancer (ABC) signifies that cancer has spread to a distant organ site, either as a progression or a recurrence after a patient has first been diagnosed with an earlier stage of breast cancer. Alternatively, in the case of de novo MBC, MBC or ABC is staged as being metastatic or stage IV at diagnosis.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and remains a leading cause of cancer-related morbidity, mortality, and resource utilization. For patients with advanced breast cancer, prognosis remains especially suboptimal, primarily because of acquired pharmacologic resistance.
As pointed out in this monograph, breast cancer remains a significant issue for patients and payers, as it is one of the highest-prevalence cancers and, thus, results in high costs.
As doctors, our goal is to help you, of course, and to do no harm. But we may actually hurt you, irreversibly. Not that this happens frequently, but it might.
It is exciting to see that patients with advanced breast cancer are able to receive additional treatment options, because a primary concern of patients with stage IV breast cancer is a lack of awareness of laboratory and clinical research targeted for those battling advanced disease.
Based on the prevalence of invasive breast cancer, the amount of drug therapy required among a managed patient population is considerable, and significantly affects the top cancer trend therapies within the cancer budget for payers.
At the Markey Cancer Center in Lexington, KY, clinical pharmacists are integral members of the multidisciplinary care team, working in the clinic alongside surgical and medical oncologists, imaging specialists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, nurses, and other healthcare providers.
One barrier to cancer care we often forget to consider is psychosocial distress. We have excellent physicians, nurses, and clinic teams, using cutting-edge medical technology; however, if patients are internally struggling with life situations and circumstances, they sometimes will not follow through with their treatment plan.
The Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship had the opportunity to speak with Virginia Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C, at the fifth annual Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) conference. Ms Vaitones is an oncology social worker at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, ME, and represents the Association of Oncology Social Work at the Commission on Cancer (CoC). She is also on the CoC Executive Committee, and was involved in writing and updating the CoC’s Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care. Ms Vaitones served as a faculty presenter at the 2014 AONN+ conference.
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