Introduction: Transformational impact of symptom control for cancer patients


Session type:

Peter Selby1
1Cancer Research UK Centre, Leeds, UK


In this session we have a series of excellent speakers who we have asked to describe the transformation in the management of symptoms and toxicity for cancer patients in recent years. Professor Martin Gore will give an overview of improvements in the approach to the cancer patient to control symptoms and in particular to avoid and manage toxicities associated with systemic therapy. Huge progress has been made with the management of the “traditional” chemotherapy toxicities to the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow. Severe nausea and vomiting is now greatly reduced. Newer targeted treatments, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors, are producing different toxicity patterns. Inhibitors of angiogenesis are associated with vascular toxicities effecting blood pressure and wound healing, for instance. New clinical skills and monitoring are therefore necessary to handle these. Professor Rob Coleman will address the specific area of bone pain and skeletal damage. These aspects of cancer care can present some of the most difficult symptom control for patients and bisphosphonates and other initiatives have made major advances. Improved therapeutic outcomes result in improved survivorship and quality of life and many patients survive for many years despite active cancer. This presents challenges to our efforts to maintain excellent quality of life for patients in the long term. Professor Michael Feuerstein will give an overview of the issues for cancer patients in the workplace.