Explaining immunotherapy to our patients with non-small cell lung cancer
I have been treating lung cancer as a nurse practitioner for about 15 years. At the time I became involved in the management of lung cancer patients, treatment was simple. There were just a few chemotherapy options, which were generally quite toxic; however, given there were only a few drugs in the arsenal, the education for each patient was very similar: neutropenia, anemia, neuropathy, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. The education was detailed, but similar for each patient. The mechanism of chemotherapy was to attack rapidly dividing cells, which in patient terms, meant that it would attack several healthy cells as well, resulting in these side effects.