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Chemotherapy Nausea: You May Not Need To Suffer

(BPT) – When Mary Van Dyke was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she didn’t know that four to five days after her chemotherapy treatment, she would experience nausea and vomiting that caused her to miss out on what she enjoys most– going to ballgames and attending church with her family. Van Dyke even assumed her days playing bingo with her mother in a nursing home were over due to her chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (also referred to as CINV). Van Dyke is not alone. According to a national survey conducted by the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) in collaboration with Eisai Inc., among patients receiving chemotherapy, 95 percent of patients noted CINV, at some point, caused an impact on their daily lives— including cancelling personal plans, changing eating habits, avoiding exercise, and calling in sick to work.

Lack of CINV understanding is widespread

The survey also found:

  • 83 percent of patients who experienced CINV believe it is a side effect of their chemotherapy treatment with which they must live
  • Nearly 3 in 4 patients said CINV made them want to avoid future cancer treatments
  • Nearly one-third of respondents thought that experiencing CINV was a sign their chemotherapy was working
  • Approximately 4 in 5 respondents agreed that their CINV was under control if they were not vomiting

Increased awareness about CINV is essential

In response to the survey findings, HOPA, in collaboration with Eisai, has launched the “Time to Talk CINV” campaign to encourage patients going through chemotherapy to talk openly with their pharmacist and full healthcare team in order to understand more about CINV and how it may be prevented.

“When I first started receiving chemotherapy, I didn’t start experiencing nausea and vomiting until four or five days after treatment. I didn’t realize the nausea and vomiting I was experiencing was something that could be prevented,” Van Dyke said.

How pharmacists can help

Pharmacists can play a big role in helping patients discuss their challenges with CINV and help work toward a solution. They are also often looking for ways to improve and increase communication with patients about CINV. In fact, according to a survey conducted among HOPA members, 85 percent of pharmacists noted more educational materials would help enhance communication with their patients.

As part of the “Time to Talk CINV” initiative, HOPA, in collaboration with Eisai, is currently working to develop tools to help improve conversations about CINV. The tools will be available to patients in early 2016.

If you or someone you know is experiencing CINV, talk openly with your pharmacist and full healthcare team about how CINV may be prevented.

For more information, visit TimetoTalkCINV.com and HOPArx.org/talkCINV. The Time to Talk CINV campaign is funded by Eisai Inc.