News in brief: Major gaps in supportive cancer care; Evidence for docetaxal in prostate cancer not translating to the real-world;Rare blood cancers latest addition to Cancer Atlas

Thursday, 18 Mar 2021

Survey identifies major gaps in supportive cancer care

Only half of cancer organisations across Australia offer support services for cancer-related fatigue, a survey shows, despite it being the most common and distressing symptoms for patients. 

Psychological therapy, self-care, exercise, healthy eating and lymphedema services were the most common supportive cancer care (SCC) services offered by the 123 cancer centres involved in the survey.

These services were typically offered in inpatient and outpatient settings via allied health professionals and nurses and were rarely offered in the home. 

However, only half offered fatigue management and less than a third offered interventions on return to work, sleep hygiene, and sexual health. 

“These underrepresented SCC interventions are concerning given their known effects

on health-related quality of life. For example, cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common and distressing symptoms experienced by cancer survivors,” the authors from Queensland wrote in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology. 

One other concerning finding was the decline in availability of most interventions after cancer treatment, they added. 

Evidence for docetaxal in prostate cancer not translating to the real-world

Evidence for the use of docetaxal in combination with androgen deprivation therapy in men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer is not translating to the real-world, an audit reveals. 

The audit of men diagnosed with mHSPC between June 2014 to December 2018 and enrolled in the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Registry-Victoria (PCOR-Vic) found only one-quarter of men with mHSPC received upfront docetaxel.

The authors, led by Associate Professor Arun Azad from the Peter Mac Cancer Centre, noted a clear increase in docetaxel uptake especially in younger men following the publication of evidence from the CHAARTED and STAMPEDE trials.

However, they noted that their findings pointed to the need for a multi-faceted approach to optimise upfront systemic therapy for mHSPC.

For example, advanced age was a key barrier to use of docetaxel, which highlighted the importance of careful assessment of chemofitness in older patients.  

“Focused educational programs for clinicians that seek to improve the implementation of practice-changing clinical trial data will likewise be critical to enhancing outcomes for men with mHSPC,” they noted in their paper published in the Internal Medicine Journal

Rare blood cancers latest addition to Cancer Atlas

Myeloproliferative neoplasms have been added to the Australian Cancer Atlas. 

Latest updates to the interactive atlas show that between 2007-2016 there were on average 958 MPNs recorded per year. 

The update also includes the latest national data on how cancer diagnosis and excess death rates vary by geographical area across Australia.

According to Cancer Council Queensland, removing these geographical disparities could save over 1300 lives per year, or 4% of all cancer deaths occurring within 5 years of diagnosis.

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