ASCO: Advances May Improve Patients' Quality of Life

One study suggests prophylactic skin treatment may become new standard for colon cancer
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- New research promises to significantly improve the quality of life of colorectal cancer patients, childhood cancer survivors, patients of childbearing age, and those with early-stage breast cancer, according to several studies presented during a June 1 press briefing at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Orlando, Fla.

In one study, Edith P. Mitchell, M.D., of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues studied prophylactic skin treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer before and after initiation of panitumumab (Vectibix)-based therapy compared to no skin treatment until after a panitumumab-related rash developed. In the prophylactic skin treatment group, the researchers found that skin toxicity rates were significantly lower (29 versus 62 percent) and that quality of life scores were significantly higher.

Other studies presented during the press briefing demonstrated a need to more intensively screen childhood cancer survivors for cancers of the breast, colon, and skin, as well as for post-traumatic stress disorder; and refer cancer patients of childbearing age to reproductive specialists. Researchers also presented evidence that partial-breast irradiation may be as effective as conventional whole-breast radiation in treating early-stage breast cancer while reducing side effects and improving quality of life.

"We are far better at helping patients cope with pain, nausea and other common side effects of cancer and its treatment," said moderator Jennifer C. Obel, M.D. of NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago. "The studies presented today demonstrate continued progress on this front, while pointing to areas where we need to focus our attention, like the ongoing care of cancer survivors."

Abstract - Panitumumab (Colorectal Cancer)
Abstract - Childhood Cancer
Abstract - Fertility Preservation
Abstract - Irradiation (Breast Cancer)

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