News in brief: National cardio-oncology network; Cancer fertility guidelines; Shingrix now available in Australia

National cardio-oncology network to be set up

A national network of cardio-oncology service hubs is to be set up under a joint initiative funded by the Heart Foundation and the Federal Government.

Associate Professor Rachel Conyers  of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne will lead the project to establish three cardio-oncology hubs across Australia after being awarded the grant

“The aim is to improve the cardiovascular outcomes of Australian cancer survivors through a national network of multidisciplinary cardio-oncology hubs that combine research with clinical services,” she said.

“These services will deliver centralised hubs of expertise, with protocolised risk assessment and guideline directed cardiac surveillance and enrolment within a suite of new research studies to improve cardio-oncology outcomes.”


COSA’s cancer fertility guidelines open for consultation

A draft version of COSA guidelines on fertility preservation for people with cancer is open for consultation until 28th June. The guidelines include evidence-based and consensus based recommendations in areas such as impact of cancer treatment on fertility, discussing risk, the role of oncology services and referral to fertility preservation specialists. The guidelines also make recommendation on options for treatment including sperm, oocyte and embryo cryopreservation, ovarian stimulation and tissue cryopreservation. Issues such as pregnancy risks and contraception are also included.

Shingrix now available for immunocompromised patients

A non-live recombinant herpes zoster vaccine, Shingrix, is now available in on the private market in Australia, according to manufacturer GSK.

Shingrix is registered for Australian adults aged 50 years and over for the prevention of shingles and prevention of postherpetic neuralgia.

The new vaccine offers an alternative option to Zostavax for patients with cancer who are immunosuppressed because they are receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and in whom live vaccine is contraindicated because of the risk of developing disseminated varicella-zoster virus (Oka vaccine strain) infection following administration of Zostavax vaccine. The two dose course intramuscular injections is reported to cost around $400-$500 on private prescription.

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