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Patients’ views: potential improvement through CDK4&6 inhibition
Naomi Fitzgibbon describes her work in the Irish Cancer Society, an organization that provides support for cancer patients in a variety of ways. Cancer patients have a wide range of needs – physical, practical, and emotional – and they need different information at different times in their cancer journey. Lack of information is associated with uncertainty, anxiety, and depression. Providing information increases patients’ involvement in decision-making, their satisfaction with treatment, and communication with family and friends. Cytotoxic cancer treatments and the trauma of diagnosis have a serious impact, and patients’ quality of life is adversely affected by fatigue, cognitive concerns, and stress. The Irish Cancer Society is addressing this issue by ensuring that all women can access psycho-oncology services at their treating hospital. The breast cancer group of the Irish Cancer Society is very active and developed an educational programme called “Living Life” to help patients with metastatic breast cancer understand and cope with a secondary diagnosis of cancer. The course has been successfully delivered in support groups nationwide and had a powerful impact on those who participated. Similar needs identified worldwide are being addressed by the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. Patients are eager to participate in clinical trials, and development of new therapies such as the CDK inhibitors offers new hope for improvement not only in survival but also, importantly, toxicity profile. The Irish Cancer Society is working with Dublin City University on several research programmes addressing quality of life issues such as fatigue and cognitive concerns in patients with metastatic breast cancer.