Joan O’Hanlon Curry, M.S., RN, CPNP, CPON®
We talked to Joan O’Hanlon Curry, M.S., RN, CPNP, CPON®, president of the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON), about how modern cancer treatments take a holistic approach to care and give patients more options than ever before.
Over the past year, what do you believe are the most notable advancements in cancer care?
The use of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy to put patients in remission, as either a cure or to allow them to make it to stem cell transplant as a cure, is one of the most notable advancements we have seen in treating leukemia and lymphoma. In addition, the increase in the amount of biologic agents available has increased the portfolio for treatment options for patients.
What new practices can oncology doctors and nurses implement right now to help improve patient care?
Looking at the patient’s whole treatment plan improves patient care, meaning supportive care, spiritual care, along with the medical treatment. It is important to remember that we are treating the whole patient, not just the disease.
How has new technology changed the ability to care for cancer patients?
I strongly believe the new treatments have provided more options for patients for cure and even for prolonging life.
How do you envision cancer care will change and adapt in the next ten years?
I think the push for ambulatory treatments will increase along with the target therapies to attack the disease, but minimize the side effects of treatment. I also see more personalized medicine, meaning that patients’ tumors are profiled at the beginning of treatment so you can find the most effective treatment against the cancer.
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