We have now entered an exciting era of cancer care that includes the rapidly growing introduction of new disease modifying treatments that are having a significant impact on the lives of selected groups of cancer patients diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Some of this growing group of patients with “incurable” cancers are receiving immunotherapy, a treatment that may control their disease for still unknown, (but hopefully significant) periods of time. They are living with uncertainty and enjoying therapies with new toxicities.
As people are living longer with incurable cancers there is a need to develop strategies and services to maintain and improve their wellbeing and maintain vigilant follow up to assess for early signs or symptoms suggesting change in disease status that can require modification or treatment related toxicity.
The first group of patients to receive immunotherapy as a first line treatment: patients with metastatic melanoma were the focus of our recent study to assess the supportive care needs of patients receiving immunotherapy and assess the feasibility of a holistic supportive care intervention.
This presentation will provide an insight into a model of supportive care that may be helpful in addressing this growing cancer populations, touching on approach to common symptoms and potential avenues for service development.