Receiving a cancer diagnosis affects family members as well as the person diagnosed. Family members often provide support for the sick person in daily life out of duty and love, and may not always think of their own vulnerability to illness. To individualise support for them, family members who are most at risk for becoming ill must be identified.
The aim of this study was to investigate health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in family members of patients with advanced lung or gastrointestinal cancer 3 to 15 months after diagnosis.
Data on mental and physical dimensions of HRQOL were collected from family members of these patients in this prospective quantitative study. Five assessments using the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) and EuroQol (EQ-5D) were conducted during a 1-year period starting 3 months after diagnosis. Thirty-six family members completed the study, i.e. participated in all five data collections.
No statistically significant changes in physical or mental HRQOL within the study group appeared over the 1-year follow-up. Compared with norm-based scores, family members had significantly poorer mental HRQOL scores throughout the year as measured by the SF-36. Family members also scored statistically significantly worse on the EQ-5D VAS in all five assessments compared to the norm-based score. Findings showed that older family members and partners were at higher risk for decreased physical HRQOL throughout the 1-year period, and younger family members were at higher risk for poorer mental HRQOL.
It is well known that ill health is associated with poor HRQOL. By identifying family members with poor HRQOL, those at risk of ill health can be identified and supported. Future large-scale research that verifies our findings is needed before making recommendations for individualised support and creating interventions best tailored to family members at risk for illness.
Family member; Advanced cancer; Health-related quality of life; Mental health dimension; Physical health dimension
Family members of persons with pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease may experience feelings of vulnerability and insecurity as the disease follows its course. Against this background, the aim of the present study was to explore empowerment in outpatient care as experienced by these family members.
An inductive approach for qualitative data analysis was chosen. The study sample comprised 12 family members of pre-dialysis patients at an outpatient kidney clinic. Two interviews with each family member were subjected to content analysis to gain an understanding of empowerment from the family members' perspective.
Having strength to assume the responsibility was the main theme that emerged from the following five sub-themes: Being an involved participant, Having confirming encounters, Trusting in health-care staff, Comprehending through knowledge, and Feeling left out. Four of these five sub-themes were positive. The fifth subtheme illuminated negative experience, indicating the absence of empowerment.
Family members' experience of empowerment is dependent on their ability to assume the responsibility for a relative with chronic kidney disease when needed. The findings emphasise the need for a family perspective and the significance of a supportive environment for family members of persons in outpatient care.
To strengthen the mental well-being of close family of persons newly diagnosed as having cancer, it is necessary to acquire a greater understanding of their experiences of social support networks, so as to better assess what resources are available to them from such networks and what professional measures are required. The main aim of the present study was to explore the meaning of these networks for close family of adult persons in the early stage of treatment for advanced lung or gastrointestinal cancer. An additional aim was to validate the study’s empirical findings by means of the Finfgeld-Connett conceptual model for social support. The intention was to investigate whether these findings were in accordance with previous research in nursing.
Seventeen family members with a relative who 8–14 weeks earlier had been diagnosed as having lung or gastrointestinal cancer were interviewed. The data were subjected to qualitative latent content analysis and validated by means of identifying antecedents and critical attributes.
The meaning or main attribute of the social support network was expressed by the theme Confirmation through togetherness, based on six subthemes covering emotional and, to a lesser extent, instrumental support. Confirmation through togetherness derived principally from information, understanding, encouragement, involvement and spiritual community. Three subthemes were identified as the antecedents to social support: Need of support, Desire for a deeper relationship with relatives, Network to turn to. Social support involves reciprocal exchange of verbal and non-verbal information provided mainly by lay persons.
The study provides knowledge of the antecedents and attributes of social support networks, particularly from the perspective of close family of adult persons with advanced lung or gastrointestinal cancer. There is a need for measurement instruments that could encourage nurses and other health-care professionals to focus on family members’ personal networks as a way to strengthen their mental health. There is also a need for further clarification of the meaning of social support versus caring during the whole illness trajectory of cancer from the family members’ perspective.
Family members; Cancer; Social support; Social network; Confirmation; Latent content analysis; Walker and Avant concept analysis
Spirituality is a subjective and multi-dimensional concept. The ambiguity in its meaning can create barriers in its application in both education and medicine. The present study aimed to explore the Iranian cancer patients’ perception of spirituality.
A qualitative study, using the content analysis approach, was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were held with 11 cancer patients and six members of their families in one of Tehran’s hospitals and a charity institute. The data generated were transcribed verbatim and content analysis approach was used for data reduction, naming data, obtaining analytical code and determining categories and themes.
Three themes (and seven sub-themes) emerged from the data analysis: 1) God as the spiritual truth (relationship with God and trust in God), 2) Moralities as a spiritual sign (considering personal and social moral codes) and 3) Spiritual resources as the source of hope (religious, personal and social resources).
Overall, in the view of cancer patients, spirituality can be defined in a religious context. However, some of them believe in morality beside religiosity, so health care staff must pay due attention to these aspects, to provide them with the opportunity to use spiritual resources.
Spirituality; Perception; Experience; Cancer patients; Content analysis
We performed semistructured interviews with 30 family members of patients with advanced dementia to identify the factors that facilitate or hinder advance planning by persons with dementia. All interviews were analyzed using qualitative data analysis techniques. The majority (77%) of family members reported that their relative had some form of written advance directive, and at least half reported previous discussions about health care preferences (57%), living situation or placement issues (50%), and finances or estate planning (60%) with the patient. Family members reported some themes that prompted planning and others that were barriers to planning. Events that most often triggered planning were medical, living situation, or financial issues associated with a friend or family member of the patient (57%). Barriers to planning included both passive and active avoidance. The most common form of passive avoidance was not realizing the importance of planning until it was too late to have the discussion (63%). The most common form of active avoidance was avoiding the discussion (53%). These data suggest potentially remediable strategies to address barriers to advance planning discussions.
advance care planning; Alzheimer disease; decision making; advance directives
Colorectal cancer is the most common gastrointestinal malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. Most colorectal cancer cases diagnosed annually are due to sporadic events but up to 5% are attributed to known monogenic disorders including Lynch syndrome, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, MYH-associated polyposis, and the rare hamartomatous polyposis syndromes. These inherited colorectal cancer syndromes confer a markedly increased risk for the development of multiple cancers and predictive genetic testing is available to identify mutation carriers and at-risk family members. Through personalized strategies for diagnosis and management, a substantial reduction in morbidity and mortality has been appreciated among patients at highest risk for the development of colorectal cancer.
Personalized medical care has been consistently proven in literature as contributing to the maintenance of psychological balance and quality of life in patients suffering from chronic conditions. However, limited research has investigated the role of personalized approach in improving these parameters in patients with advanced incurable diseases. The scope of this paper was to investigate the possible impact of personalized care condition in advanced colon cancer patients, requiring palliative care. 60 patients (32 M, 28 F) (mean age 64,6) suffering from this disease were randomly assigned to a standard or to a personalized care condition. The latest implied (a) frequent (at least 2 monthly) meetings with the doctor, (b) possibility to be involved in treatment decisions, (c) more information given about diagnosis and prognosis and (d) psychological support provided to the patient and his/her family members, to deal better with daily problems and needs. The design of the study was prospective and consisted of two successive evaluations of quality of life (SF–36 questionnaire) and anxiety and depression (HAD test). Cancer patients pertaining to the personalized treatment approach had both superior quality of life scores (p < 0,05) and lower anxiety (p < 0,01) and depression (p < 0,05) than the control group. A more detailed analysis showed significant differences of vitality and social functioning for subjects pertaining to the study group (p < 0,05), as well as a lower ratio between latent and manifest anxiety (p < 0,01). These results argue in favor of the benefits of a personalized treatment approach for patients with advanced incurable diseases.
quality of life; personalized approach; colonic cancer; anxiety; depression
The aim of this study was to explore experiences of the meaning of family support among older persons with depressive ill-health. Data were collected from twenty-nine participants through semistructured interviews and analysed using interpretative hermeneutic and reflective methodology. The findings revealed a main theme, hovering between feelings of belongingness and aloneness in relationships with family members, based on two themes: a sense of being worthy and a sense of being unworthy. Experiences of support and lack of support from family members were not opposites but connected in internal relationships and can be pictured as a movement on a continuum of ambiguity. Family support promotes the emotional needs of older persons with depressive ill-health to be confirmed. The family plays a vital role, not always by direct assistance, but indirectly by supporting the older person's own “guiding principles” for managing her/his situation. The feelings of aloneness as well as shame and guilt at poor or absent family responsiveness should be adequately addressed. Innovative nursing care can lead to improvement by focusing on acquiescence to the older person's life situation.
The rapid growth of molecular genetics and its attendant germline mutation discoveries has enabled identification of persons who are at an inordinately high cancer risk and, therefore, ideal candidates for prevention. However, one must fully appreciate the extensive genotypic and phenotypic heterogeneity that exists in hereditary cancer. Once the causative germline mutation has been identified in a patient, high-risk members of the family can be similarly tested and identified and provided highly targeted surveillance and management opportunities. DNA testing can change the individual's presumed risk status and affect decision making by patients and their physicians regarding surveillance and management. Our purpose is to describe familial/hereditary cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including familial Barrett's esophagus, hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, familial adenomatous polyposis and desmoid tumors, Lynch syndrome, small bowel cancer, and familial pancreatic cancer. We use our discussion of Lynch syndrome as a model for diagnostic and clinical translation strategies for all hereditary gastrointestinal tract cancers, which clearly can then be extended to cancer of all anatomic sites. Highly pertinent questions from the patient's perspective include the following: What kind of counseling will be provided to a patient with a Lynch syndrome mutation, and should that counseling be mandatory? Does the proband have the responsibility to inform relatives about the familial mutation, even if the relatives do not want to know whether they carry it? Is the patient is responsible for notifying family members that a parent or sibling has Lynch syndrome? Can notification be forced and, if so, under what circumstances? These questions point out the need for criteria regarding which family members to inform and how to inform them.
To understand and promote recovery from serious mental illnesses, it is important to study the perspectives of individuals who are coping with mental health problems. The aim of the present study was to examine identity-related themes in published self-narratives of family members and individuals with serious mental illness. It adds to the body of research addressing how identity affects the process of recovery and identifies potential opportunities for using published narratives to support individuals as they move toward positive identities that facilitate recovery.
Forty-five personal accounts from individuals with severe mental illness, which were published in two prominent research journals between 1998 and 2003, were qualitatively analysed.
Individuals with mental illness and their family members described a loss of self and identity that had to be overcome, or at least managed, for recovery to become possible. Writers described (i) a loss of self, (ii) the duality of (ill/well) selves, (iii) perceptions of normality, (iv) specific concerns about parenting and identity, and (v) hope and reconciliation.
Individuals’ stories of their experiences of severe mental illness describe severe challenges managing identity. Efforts to publish personal accounts that focus on strengths-based patient-centred stories, rather than on deficits, could be helpful to provide hope for patients. These published narratives highlight the importance of moving recovery and hope to the forefront among patient, family, and clinician groups. Increasing such information and role models can provide important resources to individuals working to redefine themselves and create a sense of self-worth and stable identity that will support productive, happy lives.
identity; mental health; personal accounts; recovery
To examine the feasibility and acceptability of using a decision aid with an interactive decision-making process in patients with solid tumors and their caregivers during cancer-related treatment.
A phenomenologic approach was used to analyze qualitative data, with a focus on the meaning of participants’ lived experiences. Interviews were conducted by telephone or in person.
Outpatient clinics at two regional cancer centers.
160 total individuals; 80 patients with newly diagnosed breast (n = 22), advanced-stage prostate (n = 19), or advanced-stage lung (n = 39) cancer, and their caregivers (n = 80).
Twenty-seven of the 80 pairs engaged in audio recorded interviews that were conducted using a semistructured interview guide. Continuous text immersion revealed themes. Validity of qualitative analysis was achieved by member checking.
Significant findings included three themes: (a) the decision aid helped patients and caregivers understand treatment decisions better, (b) the decision aid helped patients and caregivers to be more involved in treatment decisions, and (c) frequent contact with the study nurse was valuable.
Decision making was more complex than participants expected. The decision aid helped patients and caregivers make satisfying treatment decisions and become integral in a shared treatment decision-making process.
Decision aids can help patients and their caregivers make difficult treatment decisions affecting quantity and quality of life during cancer treatment. The findings provide valuable information for healthcare providers helping patients and their caregivers make treatment decisions through a shared, informed, decision-making process.
Decision aids can be helpful with treatment choices. Caregivers’ understanding about treatment is just as important in the decision-making process as the patients’ understanding. Incorporating decision aids that are delivered by healthcare providers or trained personnel has the potential to improve patients’ decision satisfaction.
The achievement of a death consistent with personal preferences is an elusive outcome for most people with cancer. Maintaining a sense of control is a core component of a dignified death; however, control might be a Western bioethical notion with questionable relevance to culturally diverse groups. Thus, the purpose of our study was to explore the meaning of control and control preferences in a group of racially and ethnically diverse patients with an advanced cancer diagnosis. Using a hermeneutic, phenomenological approach, we interviewed 20 patients with advanced cancer and uncovered two themes: (a) preferences for everyday control over treatment decisions, family issues, final days of life, and arrangements after death, versus (b) awareness that cancer and death are controlled by a higher power. Although the sample included non-Hispanic Whites, African Americans, and Hispanics, participants shared common views that are characteristic of American cultural norms regarding the value of autonomy.
cancer; death and dying; end-of-life issues; ethics/moral perspectives; race; ethnicity; hermeneutics; illness and disease, life-threatening/terminal; palliative care; phenomenology; race
A large kindred with colorectal cancer unaccompanied by polyposis coli and characterized by autosomal dominant inheritance has been identified in eastern Canada. Ten family members from three successive generations have presented 17 documented colorectal cancers. The clinical features of the kindred are characteristic of hereditary site-specific colon cancer (HSSCC) (Lynch syndrome I): absence of multiple polyposis, autosomal dominant inheritance, onset of colorectal cancer at an early age and a high incidence of synchronous and metachronous colorectal cancers. A unique feature of this family is the high incidence of sporadic adenomatous polyps in affected members and their relatives. Patients with HSSCC have been managed by means of segmental colectomy followed by annual colonoscopic surveillance. All five patients with localized (Dukes' stage A or B) cancer at initial diagnosis were alive and free of disease after 2 to 12 years of follow-up, although three had required further colonic resection for metachronous carcinomas. Five young family members without cancer have had sporadic adenomatous polyps removed and are being followed with annual colonoscopy. It is not known whether polypectomy will alter the subsequent incidence of colon cancer. Subtotal colectomy is recommended for patients with HSSCC because of the high incidence of multiple lesions. An aggressive screening protocol, including colonoscopy, is recommended for all adult first- and second-degree relatives of patients with HSSCC. Identification of a biomarker, which is currently being sought in this kindred, would help identify those at greatest risk of development of cancer and allow earlier intervention.
Studies of persons with chronic and life-threatening illness have revealed a fear of being a burden on family. The purpose of this case study was to explore that concern in-depth in three persons with different terminal illnesses. Participants were part of a larger study of end-of-life decision making and were selected for this study because their illnesses are characterized by a steady decline in health (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a rapid decline (stage IV lung cancer), or an uncertain trajectory of decline (advanced heart failure). Content analysis of their interviews resulted in four themes: managing the burden, spirituality, supportive relationships, and planning for the future. Themes contained specific categories of thoughts, feelings, and actions related to fear of being a burden. These themes should be explored in greater depth in future larger studies of persons with terminal illness.
cost of illness; end of life; family relationships; qualitative analysis; terminally ill
The sources of stress for families of nursing home (NH) residents with advanced dementia have not been well described. Semi--structured interviews were conducted with 16 family members previously enrolled in the Choices, Attitudes and Strategies for Care of Advanced Dementia at the End-of-Life (CASCADE) study, a prospective cohort of 323 NH residents with advanced dementia and their family members. Questions inquired about the experience of having a family member in the NH, communication with health care professionals, surrogate decision-making, emotional distress and recommendations for improvement in care. Transcripts were analyzed using the constant comparative method. The majority of participants were female (63%), children of the resident (94%) and white (94%). The average age was 62 years. Four themes emerged: 1) inadequate resident personal care, resulting in family member vigilance and participation in care; 2) stress at the time of NH admission; 3) lack of communication with NH physicians; and 4) challenges of surrogate decision making, including the need for education to support advance care planning and end-of-life decisions. Our results support the provision of emotional support to families upon resident admission, education regarding prognosis to guide decision making, improved resident care and greater communication with health care professionals.
caregivers; long-term care; Alzheimer’s disease
A study of the implementation in Canada of multidisciplinary cancer conferences—which can facilitate diagnosis and treatment discussions and optimize patient management—using grounded theory methodology.
Multidisciplinary cancer conferences (MCCs) provide an opportunity for health professionals to discuss diagnosis and treatment options to optimize patient management. The purpose of this study was to explore the barriers and facilitators in implementing MCCs in Canada.
This exploratory study used qualitative interviews and observation to explore the experiences of implementing MCCs in four hospitals in Ontario, Canada. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using standard qualitative research methodology guided by grounded theory principles.
Thirty-seven MCCs for gastrointestinal cancer were observed across three hospital sites, and 48 interviews were conducted among a range of clinical specialists and administrators. The dominant theme suggested that MCCs can most effectively be implemented if administrators and health professionals see value in MCCs, despite the time and effort required. A number of factors (eg, provincial policy, hospital administrative and clinician support, and an efficient MCC process) influenced whether MCCs were valued.
Variation exists in the enthusiasm of health professionals and the administrative capacity of institutions regarding routine implementation of MCCs. A systematic implementation plan for MCCs is needed involving both cancer care providers and administrators.
An increasing number of individuals with complex health care needs now receive life-long and life-prolonging ventilatory support at home. Family members often take on the role of primary caregivers. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of families giving advanced care to family members dependent on home mechanical ventilation.
Using qualitative research methods, a Grounded Theory influenced approach was used to explore the families' experiences. A total of 15 family members with 11 ventilator-dependent individuals (three children and eight adults) were recruited for 10 in-depth interviews.
The core category, "fighting the system," became the central theme as family members were asked to describe their experiences. In addition, we identified three subcategories, "lack of competence and continuity", "being indispensable" and "worth fighting for". This study revealed no major differences in the families' experiences that were dependent on whether the ventilator-dependent individual was a child or an adult.
These findings show that there is a large gap between family members' expectations and what the community health care services are able to provide, even when almost unlimited resources are available. A number of measures are needed to reduce the burden on these family members and to make hospital care at home possible. In the future, the gap between what the health care can potentially provide and what they can provide in real life will rapidly increase. New proposals to limit the extremely costly provision of home mechanical ventilation in Norway will trigger new ethical dilemmas that should be studied further.
Objective: Collusion refers to a secret agreement made between clinicians and family members to hide the diagnosis of a serious or life-threatening illness from the patient. Our goal was to reduce the rate of collusion among the family members of patients referred to our institution's palliative care service such that 80% of patients would be aware of their diagnosis within four weeks of referral to the service. We aimed to achieve this target within six months of starting the project.
Methods: We undertook a clinical practice improvement project using the methodology of Brent James et al of Intermountain Health to see how we could reduce collusion among clinicians and family members of patients with advanced-stage cancers. This strategy included creating awareness among patients, family, and clinicians of the problems with collusion from the standpoint of each group; adopting an empathetic and compassionate approach to communication; using pamphlets; seeking patients’ views; empowering families to reveal the truth to patients; and supporting patients and families until the last moment of each patient's life.
Results: Between December 2004 and June 2008, 655 patients with advanced-stage cancers were referred to us. We were able to maintain an average awareness rate of nearly 80% of patients starting in February 2005, when we implemented awareness measures.
Conclusion: The deeply entrenched cultural practice of collusion can be changed with simple strategies based on the universal principles of medical ethics and best practices.
As clinical ethicists and ethics committee members, we strive to create the ideal situation for moral conversation and ethical reflection. Using both the familiar foundation and the fuller sense, the ethicist and ethics committee are aided in participating more fruitfully in a process of resolution. The familiar foundation represents a body of knowledge that ethics consultants and ethics committees should thoroughly understand. In addition, there is a depth of analysis found in the fuller sense, through narrative, that sharpens ethical focus and enables richer understanding of the patient's situation in life.
In using both tools, patients and families are better served than they would be relying on either tool by itself. Stakeholders and their relationships become more clearly assessed and individuals more effectively discover their own legitimate position. This can mean a more thorough representation of moral problems, a deeper understanding of all parties involved, and a greater opportunity to help parties better understand themselves and each other.
Familial thyroid cancer has become a well-recognized entity in patients with thyroid cancer
originating from follicular cells, that is, nonmedullary thyroid carcinoma. The diagnosis of
familial thyroid cancer provides an opportunity for early detection and possible prevention in
family members. Understanding the syndromes associated with familial thyroid cancer allows
clinicians to evaluate and treat patients for coexisting pathologic conditions. About five
percents of patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma have a familial disease.
Patients with familial non-medullalry thyroid cancer have more aggressive tumors with
increased rates of extrathyroid extension, lymph node metastases, and frequently show the
phenomenon of “anticipation” (earlier age at disease onset and increased severity in
successive generations). So far, four predisposition loci have been identified in relatively rare
extended pedigrees, and association studies have identified multiple predisposing variants for
differentiated thyroid cancer. This suggests that there is a high degree of genetic
heterogeneity and that the development of this type of tumor is a multifactorial and complex
process in which predisposing genetic variants interact with a number of incompletely
understood environmental risk factors. Thus, the search for the causative variants is still open
and will surely benefit from the new technological approaches that have been developed in
To understand oncology clinicians’ perspectives about the care of advanced cancer patients following the completion of the ENABLE II (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends) randomized clinical trial (RCT) of a concurrent oncology palliative care model.
Qualitative interview study of 35 oncology clinicians about their approach to patients with advanced cancer and the effect of the ENABLE II RCT.
Oncologists believed that integrating palliative care at the time of an advanced cancer diagnosis enhanced patient care and complemented their practice. Self-assessment of their practice with advanced cancer patients comprised four themes: 1) treating the whole patient, 2) focusing on quality versus quantity of life, 3) “some patients just want to fight”, and 4) helping with transitions; timing is everything. Five themes comprised oncologists’ views on the complementary role of palliative care: 1) “refer early and often”, 2) referral challenges: “Palliative” equals hospice; “Heme patients are different”, 3) palliative care as consultants or co-managers, 4) palliative care “shares the load”, and 5) ENABLE II facilitated palliative care integration.
Oncologists described the RCT as holistic and complementary, and as a significant factor in adopting concurrent care as a standard of care.
oncologist; oncology nurse practitioner; concurrent oncology palliative care; qualitative research; health care delivery
Breast cancer family history has been known to be one of the main cancer risk factors. Members of high-risk families should be given recommendations which may improve prophylaxis, early diagnosis and treatment. Detection of high-risk families is possible by identification of mutations in cancer susceptibility genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 as well as by family history showing breast and/or ovary cancer aggregation. In a group of 521 breast cancer patients we identified 26 patients with hereditary breast cancer who fulfilled the following criteria: one more relative with breast cancer, vertical transmission, at least one breast cancer patient affected at the age under 50 years. 8 patients of these developed second primary breast cancer. We also compared the frequency of hereditary cancers in stage I-III with the frequency of respective cancers with negative family history. Hereditary breast cancers were diagnosed less frequently in stage I and more frequently in stage II and III (RR = 0.49, RR = 1.39, RR = 1.62, respectively). Because of importance of family history as well as genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA1/2), it is necessary to create a nationwide network of hereditary cancer clinics for proper diagnosis, treatment, and prophylaxis of these patients.
hereditary breast cancer; early hereditary cancer; relative risk (RR)
As the upward spiral of novel cancer gene discoveries and novel molecular compounds continues to accelerate, a repetitive theme in molecular drug development remains the lack of activity of initially promising agents when given to patients in clinical trials. It is however invigorating that a few targeted agents directed against a select group of a few ‘cancer gene superfamilies’ have escaped this all to common fate, and have evolved into novel, clinically meaningful molecular therapy strategies. Targeting dysregulated signaling of the epidermal growth factor family of transmembrane receptors (Erbb family) has encompassed over the last decade an ever increasing role in personalized treatment approaches in an increasing number of human malignancies. Erbbs are receptor tyrosine kinases that are important regulators of several signaling pathways. Two of its family members (Erbb1/EGFR and Erbb2/HER2) have previously been shown to be somatically mutated of human cancers. To determine if this family is somatically mutated in melanoma, its sequences were recently analyzed and one of its members, Erbb4, was found to be somatically mutated in 19% of melanoma cases. Functional analysis of seven of its mutations was shown to increase its catalytic and transformation abilities as well as providing essential survival signals. Similar to other Erbb family members, mutant Erbb4 seems to confer “oncogene addiction” on melanoma cells, making it an attractive therapeutic target. Gaining further understanding into the oncogenic mechanism of Erbb4 may not only help in the development of targeted therapy in melanoma patients but might accelerate the acceptance of a novel taxonomy of cancer which is based on the genomic perturbations in cancer genes and cancer gene families and their response to targeted agents.
Erbb; personalized medicine; somatic mutation; inhibitor; cancer
Hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes can be associated with a lifetime risk of CRC of >70% in the absence of specialized surveillance. Diagnosing a genetic predisposition to cancer allows clinicians to tailor cancer prevention strategies for patients and families at highest risk. Once a genetic syndrome has been identified in a family, communication with family members, timely implementation of screening tests and/or surgeries, and psychosocial support are all instrumental for effective cancer prevention.
Molecular screening of tumors, computerized risk assessment models, and genetic testing can help clinicians identify individuals at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes. This review discusses some of the complexities involved in the diagnosis and management of families with hereditary CRC syndromes and provides strategies for coordinating clinical care.
Hereditary colorectal cancer; FAP; HNPCC; genetic counseling and testing; family members
In order to deliver effective care, it is necessary to organise interdisciplinary activities for older persons who suffer from depressive disorders. This paper evaluated the interdisciplinary team members' perceptions of cooperation in the discharge planning of depressed older persons based on the Chronic Care Model (CCM). A qualitative implementation design was used, data were collected by means of multistage focus groups, and a thematic analysis was performed. Three themes emerged: lack of effective team leadership in the community, the need to change the delivery system, and enhancing self-management support for depressed older persons as well as the participation of their families. It was concluded that nurse managers must find ways of supporting the depressed older persons by better structuring the care, increasing cooperation with organisational leadership, and creating an environment characterised by trust and mutual respect. Distrust can have serious implications for discharge planning collaboration. The development of a common vision of transparency in the organization is important as is a policy of change among leadership and in clinical practice.