Guidelines advance myeloma patient care

Kathy Lilleby presents Nurse Leadership Board guidelines at International Myeloma Workshop
Kathy Lilleby
Kathy Lilleby Clinical Research Division

The Nurse Leadership Board of the International Myeloma Foundation presented a poster entitled "Nurse Guidelines for Enhanced Patient Care," at the 11th International Myeloma Workshop, held last month on the island of Kos, Greece. More than 1,600 people attended the workshop, including oncology nurse and NLB member Kathy Lilleby of the Clinical Research Division.

"For five days, we heard presentations on all the latest studies, basic research and supportive care for patients with multiple myeloma," Lilleby said. "It was an inspirational opportunity to learn how much hope there is for diagnosing and treating this disease. I can encourage my patients with the news that many of the brightest researchers are working tirelessly to extend their lives and the quality of their lives until there is a cure."

A unique partnership

Lilleby contributed to major advances in nursing care by co-presenting the NLB guidelines, which offer specific protocols and procedures nurses can use to help myeloma patients optimize their treatments, manage side effects and receive the support they need.

The NLB is a unique partnership between the IMF and 20 oncology nurses from leading centers treating myeloma in the United States. "It provides an opportunity for nurses, like myself, to share our expertise with colleagues in community-based settings who may see few myeloma patients on novel therapies," said Lilleby, who has been working with patients with multiple myeloma and on protocols for autologous transplantation with Dr. Bill Bensinger since 1992.

"We believe this presentation at a major medical meeting represents a groundbreaking opportunity for these nurses, validating the valuable services the NLB provides," said Susie Novis, president and co-founder of the IMF.

Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is the second most common blood cancer. It occurs in the bone marrow, affecting production of red cells, white cells and stem cells. In their presentation, the nurses addressed complications that may be associated with the novel myeloma treatments — newer regimens that help extend the lives of patients, but which may be accompanied by their own unique set of side effects including the risk of blood clots, gastrointestinal problems and peripheral nerve damage.

The presentation notes that adverse effects may decrease patients' willingness to continue with the treatment as prescribed. The guidelines provide strategies to help increase patient compliance that may, in turn, help patients realize the full benefits of their therapies and improve their quality of life.

The NLB guidelines are currently under preparation for journal publication.

The International Myeloma Foundation is the oldest and largest myeloma organization, reaching more than 135,000 members in 113 countries worldwide. The nonprofit organization focuses on four key areas: research, education, support and advocacy to help improve the quality of life for myeloma patients and their families.

[Adapted from an IMF news release.]

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