National Comprehensive Cancer Network

About NCCN

Sharing Knowledge to Improve Patient Care

By Kristina M. Gregory, RN, MSN, OCN, Vice President of Clinical Information Operations, NCCN

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, as part of the NCCN 20th Annual Conference: Advancing the Standard of Cancer Care™, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) hosted the 2015 NCCN Nursing Program: Advancing Oncology Nursing™. The presentations included a variety of topics integral to quality cancer care: survivorship, fertility preservation, management of adverse events, and end-of-life care. The format of concurrent sessions also continued this year, with a focus on the following disease sites: brain tumors, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, chronic myelogenous leukemia, and hepatobiliary cancers.

During the first presentation of the program, Survivorship Update: Healthy Lifestyles, Mary Ann Morgan, PhD, FNP-BC, Moffitt Cancer Center, discussed updates to the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Survivorship, in addition to strategies for nurses to help patients initiate changes for a healthy lifestyle. Following this topic, Joanne Frankel Kelvin, MSN, RN, AOCN, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, presented Current Approaches to Fertility Preservation. Oncology nurses gained knowledge in identifying men and women at risk for infertility from cancer treatment, the options available for fertility preservation, and how to discuss treatment options with their patients.

Based on success from the previous year, the 2015 NCCN Nursing Program also included disease-based presentations in concurrent sessions. The first track included Clinical Updates and Issues: Hepatobiliary Cancers, presented by Cyndy Simonson, MS, APRN-BC, AOCN, Duke Cancer Institute; and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma, presented by Mollie Moran, MSN, CNP, AOCNP, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. The second disease-specific track included Clinical Updates and Issues: Brain Tumors, presented by Clare Ferrigno, CRNP, ACHPN, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins; and Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, presented by Mary Beth Rios, CCRP, RN, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The availability of the concurrent sessions gave participants the choice of disease topic between hematologic malignancies or solid tumors. The focus for the clinical updates was on understanding the mechanism of action and management of adverse effects of drug and biologic agents available for these diseases to reduce treatment delay and disruption. The presentations also focused on how to identify and manage disease-related symptoms and supportive care issues.  

The program continued with a presentation titled, Management of Adverse Events Associated with Immunotherapies in Melanoma. In this presentation, Krista M. Rubin, MS, RN, FNP-BC, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, described the types of adverse events seen with immunotherapies and how nurses can improve the implementation of these therapies through prompt recognition and implementation of supportive care strategies.

During the final presentation, Optimizing Nursing Care during End of Life, Bonnie Freeman, RN, DNP, ANP, ACHPN, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, discussed important symptom management issues for the dying patient. Using the CARES model (Collaboration, Affirmation, Respect, Empathy, & Support), nurses were provided interventions to reduce pain and distress for the patient during end-of-life care, and suggestions to improve patient and family education and care.

The 2015 NCCN Nursing Program provided oncology nurses with comprehensive and clinically relevant information regarding the management of patients with cancer. Through participation in this educational program, nurses gained information to facilitate the delivery of the best clinical care and patient education to further improve patients' quality of life.

If you are interested any of the presentations described above topics from the NCCN Nursing Program will be available as free webinars with CE credits on the NCCN website. Check frequently for updates.