Patients needlessly suffering from chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting

Venice, Saturday 13 April, 2002. Nearly two decades after the introduction of highly effective antiemetic (anti-nausea) therapies, almost a third of patients are still suffering from chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). Unmet needs in nurse training may be contributing to this sub-optimal patient care.

Delegates attending the third biannual convention of the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) heard for the first time results of a pan-European nurse survey, the aim of which was to identify unmet training and treatment needs in the management of CINV.

The survey highlighted that after hair loss, nausea and vomiting are the two most common concerns expressed by patients when told they require chemotherapy (68% and 57% of respondents respectively).

Nausea and vomiting (emesis) are two of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, affecting about 70% of patients, and representing a major therapeutic challenge in cancer and post-operative care.1

Nausea and vomiting can be extremely uncomfortable and devastating to the quality of life of the patient undergoing treatment so much so that some patients opt to delay or refuse further potentially life-saving treatment.2, 3 It is generally accepted that full 24 hour coverage from nausea and vomiting is required from anti-emetic treatment strategies if disruption to a patients quality of life is to be minimized.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Giel Vaessen, President, EONS, said," The survey has clearly demonstrated an unmet need in patient management and nurse training."

"The high incidence of CINV uncovered by this survey is clearly unacceptable. While inappropriate utilization of anti-emetics significantly contributes to poor CINV control, another key issue is a lack of relevant nurse training. In addition, a low level of awareness of the issue and cultural influences may also be a contributory factor" he concluded. '"/>

Contact: Rupert Doggett
Shire Hall Communications

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