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Advancing Care for Patients with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

Myeloproliferative neoplasms, while rare, are blood cancers that carry a significant symptom burden and can develop aggressively. With no known cause and varying symptoms, myeloproliferative neoplasms can be difficult to diagnose and require meticulous treatment and follow-up care. With an incidence of 0.5 to 3 per 100,000 persons, depending upon subtype (i.e., polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and primary myelofibrosis)1, research is underway to properly classify these hematopoietic stem cell cancers, as the lack of uniform treatment plans for subgroups continues to present significant challenges in symptom alleviation and disease control.

Current standard-of-care pharmacological treatments, while helpful, do not fully relieve symptom burden, and approximately 84 percent of patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms report a reduced quality of life. Furthermore, systematic reviews of patients have shown dissonance between patient and physician perception of symptom burden, which in turn affects patient outcomes.2

Myeloproliferative neoplasms can be a precursor to more aggressive disease development such as myelofibrosis, acute myeloid leukemia, or myelodysplastic syndrome; this underscores the importance of timeliness of treatment as well as the need for increased awareness of available myeloproliferative neoplasms care guidelines for community oncology multidisciplinary team members.

To address this need, the Association of Community Cancer Centers has developed an educational initiative– Advancing Care for Patients with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms– which will foster knowledge sharing, raise awareness about available care guidelines and resources to better manage symptoms, and improve the quality of care for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Through a series of quality improvement workshops, video podcasts featuring clinical experts, a literature review, and a comprehensive toolkit on myeloproliferative neoplasms, this initiative shall provide valuable resources for multidisciplinary care teams and community practices. Further details shall be posted as these initiatives progress.

References

  1. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Myeloproliferative neoplasms polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia and myelofibrosis. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website. Updated 2021. Accessed March 10, 2022. lls.org/sites/default/files/2021-10/PS81_MPN_Booklet_2021.pdf
  2. Mesa R, Miller C, Thyne M et al. Differences in treatment goals and perception of symptom burden between patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and hematologists/oncologists in the United States: Findings from the MPN Landmark survey. Cancer. 2016;123(3):449-458. doi:10.1002/cncr.30325 

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