Skip to main content

Survey Shows Gaps in Oncology Nurses Knowledge about Cardiotoxicity of Cancer Drugs

Web Exclusives - Supportive Care

Guidelines specific to cancer patients needed
More education about assessment and management of cardiotoxicity would strengthen the quality of nursing care of cancer patients, according to a study presented at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 2010 Advanced Practice Nursing /Institutes of Learning (APN/IOL)Conference in Orlando, Florida.

The study by Wendy Vogel, MSN, FNP, AOCONP, of Kingsport Hematology Oncology Associates, Kingsport, Tennessee, and Marilyn Haas, PhD, ANP-BC, CNS, of CarePartners, Asheville, North Carolina, showed a gap in knowledge among oncology nurses, including advanced practice nurses (APNs), treating women with breast cancer. “This is a wide-open field for oncology nursing research,” said Vogel, who presented the findings.

To evaluate oncology nurses’ knowledge and practice patterns regarding cardiotoxicity in women with early-stage breast cancer treated with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 inhibitors/vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors, the researchers developed a 24-item survey. Surveys were distributed before and after the 2009 APN/IOL conference. Of the 248 nurses who responded to the survey, 88% of respondents worked in medical oncology settings; 26% identified themselves as APNs, 49% as staff nurses, and 25% other. Fifty-eight percent worked in the community outpatient setting, and 56% reported spending at least 1 to 2 hours per week educating breast cancer patients about cardiotoxicity.

Only 12% of the survey respondents said they felt very comfortable about assessing cardiotoxicity, and 25% reported feeling less than comfortable. More than 10% of respondents were uncertain which breast cancer drugs can cause cardiotoxicity, and more than 20% were unsure whether chemotherapeutic agents were discontinued or dose reduced because of cardiotoxicity in their practice.

Respondents reported that their primary resource used for managing breast cancer was textbooks (34%) followed by pharmaceutical representatives (18%), national guidelines (18%), and the Internet (17%). This was concerning Vogel said because textbooks do not provide the most up-to-date information, and guidelines prepared by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology are not specific for cancer patients.

Evidence-based guidelines on assessment and management of cardiotoxicity in patients with cancer are needed, Vogel said. This is becoming increasingly important, she explained because “we’re seeing patients age with cancer.” Better communication is needed between oncologists and cardiologists, she added, and “that’s where oncology nurses can make a difference—coordination of care.”

Related Items
Denosumab for First-Line Treatment of Hypercalcemia Associated with Malignancy: Retrospective Analysis
Katherine P. Morgan, PharmD, BCOP, CPP, Yujiao Sun, PharmD, Allison Deal, Jared Weiss, MD, Amber Cipriani, PharmD, BCOP
JHOP - June 2021 Vol 11, No 3 published on June 16, 2021 in Original Article, Supportive Care, Immunotherapy, Adverse Events
Steroids plus Exercise Reduce Fatigue in Patients with Advanced Cancer
Corbin Davis
Web Exclusives published on February 24, 2020 in Supportive Care
Managing Bone Metastases Through a Multidisciplinary Approach
Meg Barbor, MPH
Web Exclusives published on December 11, 2018 in Supportive Care
A Taxing Consequence: Taxane Acute Pain Syndrome
Mark L. Zangardi, PharmD, BCOP
JHOP - June 2017 Vol 7, No 2 published on May 30, 2017 in Supportive Care, Symptom Management Overview
EGFR Inhibitor–Associated Papulopustular Rash
Donald C. Moore, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP
JHOP - March 2017 Vol 7, No 1 published on March 13, 2017 in Supportive Care
Barriers to Initiating Oral Oncolytics by Specialty Pharmacy or Payers Can Affect Patient Outcomes
Leslie Wyatt
Web Exclusives published on February 15, 2017 in Supportive Care
HER2 Receptor Antagonist–Associated Cardiotoxicity
Alison Palumbo, PharmD, MPH, BCOP, Joseph Bubalo, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP
JHOP - Sept 2016 Vol 6, No 3 published on August 22, 2016 in Supportive Care
Management of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy
Sonia Amin Thomas (Sonia Patel), PharmD
Audiocasts published on May 25, 2016 in Supportive Care
Management of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy
Sonia Amin Thomas (Sonia Patel), PharmD, Soo-hwan Chung, PharmDc
JHOP - March 2016 Vol 6, No 1 published on March 4, 2016 in Supportive Care
Opioid-Induced Constipation
Amanda R. McFee Winans, PharmD, BCPS, Jayne Pawasauskas, PharmD, BCPS, Leah Sera, PharmD, BCPS
JHOP - December 2015 Vol 5, No 4 published on November 28, 2015 in Supportive Care