Letters From Lillie

December 2013 Vol 4, No 6
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Program Director, AONN+; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Administrative Director, The Johns Hopkins Breast Center; Director, John Hopkins Cancer Survivorship Programs; Professor of Surgery and Oncology, JHU School of Medicine; Co-Creator, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work
shockli@jhmi.edu

Dear Reader,

Happy Holidays to everyone, and Happy New Year from everyone at AONN+! We hope that the New Year is a happy and healthy one for you and your loved ones.

A few weeks later, I am still smiling and feeling very energized from our recent AONN+ Fourth Annual Conference in Memphis, TN, where we had 650 attendees this year

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Palliative care has a serious identity problem. Seventy percent of Americans describe themselves as “not at all knowledgeable” about palliative care, and most healthcare professionals believe it is synonymous with end-of-life care.1 This perception is not far from current medical practice, because specialty palliative care—administered by clinicians with expertise in palliative medicine—is predominantly offered through hospice care or inpatient consultation only after life-prolonging treatment has failed. This means that the majority of patients who could benefit from palliative care are not receiving it until they are very close to death. To ensure that patients with metastatic breast cancer receive the best cancer care throughout their disease trajectory, palliative care should be initiated alongside standard oncology care, and it should be implemented early.
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In addition to the obligatory orange and black decorations of October, it’s also the time of year to don your pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! The progress we have made as a nation in elevating the importance of regular breast cancer screenings, funding research, and supporting breast cancer survivors has had a direct impact on our ability to increase and improve survivorship.
Last modified: December 27, 2013

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