Embarking on Hormonal Therapy—Educating the Patient and Her Spouse/Partner

AONN+ Blog published on January 12, 2011 in Breast Cancer
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Co-Founder, AONN+; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

Seventy percent of patients completing her acute treatment (surgery, chemo, and radiation) will be candidates for taking hormonal therapy. All too often, patients are not well informed, however, about the purpose of this pill to be taken once a day for 5 years or more, nor do they realize its level of importance. The oncologist may even say to the patient “congratulations on being done with your treatment” as she hands her a prescription for hormonal therapy. This is an important teaching opportunity for you as her nurse navigator to ensure she understands what this drug is for, the importance of adhering to taking it as prescribed, what the side effects may be, and how to minimize those side effects when possible. If this isn’t done, then there is a high risk that she will not take the medication as prescribed.

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