Kirshbaum, Marilyn (2005) Editorial: Moving forward in the care of people with cancer. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing, 9 (3-4). pp. 99-100. ISSN 1361-9004

Much of what I read these days is rather dismal. I refer not only to newspaper articles that report on human suffering, whether caused by the ravages of war or as a consequence of deficient and ineffective health care services, but also to editorials in nursing journals about the current state of our profession. I will not dwell on the negative. Instead, I prefer to honour and celebrate the contributions of all health care professionals and specifically those extra special researchers and practitioners who strive to address the challenges of cancer care and control.

Hopefully, by the time this issue on cancer care is in print, I will have recovered from the very intensive and inspiring 14th International Conference on Cancer Nursing 2006, held this past autumn in Toronto, Canada and co-sponsored by the International Society of Cancer Nurses in Cancer Care and the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology. The theme, ‘Reaching New Heights Together’, was encompassed and expressed by the inclusive and global texture of the presentations, workshops, symposia and poster displays. It was one of those noteworthy conferences where delegates and organisers were enabled to share a common gusto in listening to, and engaging enthusiastically with each others’ work, interests and (dare I write it) their ‘passion’ for cancer care. It was enlightening, challenging and energising. It helped me to realign and refocus my perception of where we are now, in terms of our evidence base, and which directions might lead us toward effective interventions in the future. Arriving freshly inspired from Toronto, I am honoured to introduce this extraordinary and varied collection of current, scholarly research to our readers.

This issue of Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing takes a critical look at several innovative approaches to patient assessment, intervention and service provision. Firstly, three literature reviews are presented: Nyawata & Topping have examined the literature surrounding symptom interpretation in malignant melanoma, Chan provides a thorough analysis of psycho-educational interventions that have implications for cancer patients and Morse, Kendell & Barton provide a current reflection on the use of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale in cancer populations. Gibson et al. have produced an illuminating and substantial piece of work presented as a typology of the unique needs of young people following childhood cancer.

The provision of new and effective treatments, interventions and technologies are central to the advancement of cancer control. I am therefore particularly pleased to be able to include several contributions to the vital research base that must drive our policies and actions. Specifically, these are: the feasibility of using mobile phone technology to monitor and support chemotherapy patients (Maguire et al.), an intervention for enhancing cancer trial management through information and support (Wilson, Cox & Elkan), the development and evaluation of a fatigue reducing, group programme for patients following cancer treatment (Ream, Richardson & Evison), telephone assessment in a lymphoedema clinic (Woods) and an appreciation for long-term support through effective rehabilitation services (Doyle & Kelly).

Lastly, this issue provides contributions that explore how practice and services can be improved still further. This will be represented by Cheng et al. in their paper on measuring symptom prevalence, severity and distress in cancer survivors; an examination of the nutrition at an acute cancer unit (Warnock et al.), an exploration of a framework for advanced nursing practice for the clinical research nurses in cancer care (Bird & Kirshbaum), a model of a consumer research panel (Collins, Stevens & Almedzai) and, in a brief, insightful report, Campbell, Whyte & Mutrie tackle the issue of recruitment to intervention trials.

There is still so much to do to address the complex needs of cancer patients. The range of the articles included here demonstrates the appreciable efforts being made in this area. I hope you will find something valuable and enlightening within this issue that can help you in your contribution.

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