“Hormone Holiday” Can Improve QoL for Select Patients With Prostate Cancer

“Androgen-deprivation therapy, while an effective treatment for prostate cancer, can result in side effects and a reduced quality of life. Allowing low-risk patients to take breaks between treatments—a practice known as intermittent hormonal therapy, or a ‘hormone holiday’—may combat these challenges without impacting survival.

“A recent systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by JAMA Oncology found no significant difference between intermittent and continuous therapy for overall survival (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.93-1.11; 8 trials, 5352 patients), cancer-specific survival (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.87-1.19; 5 trials, 3613 patients), and progression-free survival (HR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.84-1.05; 4 trials, 1774 patients).”


Long-term Toxicity Surprise With ADT for Prostate Cancer

“In a surprising study result, the use of intermittent androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer is not associated with fewer long-term adverse events than continuous ADT.

“The outcome was unexpected because it was hypothesized that the intermittent schedule, which gives patients a break from the treatment, would be less harmful.

“ADT is a cornerstone of locally advanced and metastatic prostate cancer treatment, but is associated with an array of adverse events, including sexual dysfunction, bone demineralization, cardiovascular disease, metabolic complications, cognitive changes, and diminished quality of life.”


Checkpoint Inhibitors Improve QoL in Melanoma Survivors

“The checkpoint inhibitors pembrolizumab and nivolumab not only prolong survival in advanced melanoma patients but also maintain health-related quality of life (QoL), according to two presentations at the Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress, held November 18–21 in San Francisco.

“In the international, randomized, open-label phase III KEYNOTE-006 study, the anti–programmed death-1 (PD-1) humanized monoclonal antibody pembrolizumab provided superior overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and response, and with less high-grade toxicity compared with the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitor ipilimumab in 834 patients with ipilimumab-naive advanced melanoma who received up to one prior therapy.”


Super Advocate: Surviving Lung Cancer Revitalizes Dave Bjork’s Life


In 1998, Dave Bjork went to the doctor for a high fever accompanied by chills so intense that he shivered even though he wore three jackets. A chest X-ray revealed pneumonia and Dave went back to his life. “I didn’t think anything of it,” he says.

But then Dave had another bout of pneumonia only a few months later, and his new X-ray and his old one had a terrible similarity. “My radiologist held up the two X-rays and showed me that the infection was in the same spot,” he says. Next came a CAT scan and a call from his doctor saying they’d found a tumor in his lung. Continue reading…


Short-Course Palliative RT Cuts Cancer Pain

“Short-course palliative radiotherapy provided pain relief equivalent to that of conventional protocols, and allowed patients with advanced cancer to spend more time at home, investigators reported.

“Half as many patients underwent more than five treatment sessions and hospital length of stay decreased by 50% following implementation of a palliative radiation oncology service. At the same time, significantly more patients completed the planned course of radiotherapy, which resulted in a trend toward better pain relief.”


Weight Training Helps Breast Cancer Survivors Regain Functional Strength

“Weight training can be a big boost to breast cancer survivors who are trying to regain muscle and bone strength lost due to cancer treatment and physical inactivity, says a Florida State University researcher.

“In the academic journal Healthcare, FSU Professor of Exercise Science Lynn Panton details how a weight training regimen can help women who’ve survived breast cancer repair chemotherapy-weakened bodies and help them get back to living their lives.

“ ‘Cancer treatment causes this accelerated aging,’ Panton said. ‘What we are finding is that many breast cancer survivors are very weak in the upper body.’ “


Postprostatectomy Radiation Therapy Yields Low Toxicity and Favorable Patient-Reported Quality of Life

“A prospective study of guideline-based, postoperative, image-guided intensity-modulated radiation therapy in patients with prostate cancer found low toxicity profiles and favorable patient-reported quality of life following treatment, with researchers concluding that toxicity and health-related quality of life should not impact the recommendation of radiation therapy following prostatectomy. The research was published by Berlin et al in Practical Radiation Oncology.

“Postprostatectomy radiation therapy has been reported as underutilized, with randomized trials showing the benefit of adjuvant radiation therapy, but only about 10% of patients receiving the treatment. One potential reason for underutilization could be concern over side effects or a negative impact on health-related quality of life.”


Living With Cancer: Collateral Damage

“When I was invited to attend a prostate cancer group called ‘Us Too’ in my town, its members were meeting in a private room in our public library. About eight men, some accompanied by their wives, had great difficulty communicating their discomfort about urine leaks and diapers. They wanted to know what strategies my gynecological cancer group used to talk about sexual issues. To alleviate their daily problems, the participants needed professional help that I could not furnish.

“Sexual dysfunction and incontinence in prostate cancer survivors underscore a quandary that shadows oncology. As we all realize, procedures that prolong lives also impair them. Yet cancer patients who must forfeit quality of life to gain quantity of life rarely receive adequate warning before treatment or guidance afterward.”


Shorter Course of Radiation Improves Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

“Women who receive a shorter course of whole breast radiation therapy for early stage disease experience less toxicity and improved quality of life compared to those who undergo a longer course of treatment, researchers report from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Published in JAMA Oncology, the authors believe these findings should be communicated to women as part of the shared decision-making between breast cancer patients and their physician.

“Historically in the management of breast cancer in the U.S., radiation treatment has been given in smaller doses over a longer period of time, in a method called conventionally fractionated whole breast irradiation (CF-WBI), rather than with higher doses over a shorter period of time, or hypofractionated whole breast irradiation (HF-WBI).”