New Treatment, Genetic Findings for Advanced Bladder Cancer Patients

The end of 2019 brought positive news for patients with advanced urothelial cancer (UC), cancer of the bladder’s inner lining.

Patients with metastatic or locally advanced UC now have an additional treatment option: Padcev (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv), a drug recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that targets a type of cancer cell common to UC. In an article about the drug in Cure, MSK’s Dr. Jonathan E. Rosenberg calls the approval “a significant advance.”

Researchers at MSK led by Dr. Maria Carlo have made genetic findings for advanced UC. In a Journal of Clinical Oncology article, reported by Medwire News, the authors retrospectively identified genetic variants that could impact the screening and treatment of advanced UC. They recommend expanding genetic testing for these patients.

Dr. Jonathan E. Rosenberg                        Dr. Maria Carlo

Connecting Underserved Populations with Colonoscopy Screening

How do you encourage underserved populations to get screening colonoscopies?

A new study led by MSK and Mount Sinai researchers addresses this question for more than 300 low-income Latinx individuals living in New York City. A Cancer Network article describes the findings.

The researchers compared three initiatives: patient navigation; patient navigation alongside Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) print materials; and patient navigation with culturally targeted print materials. The authors define patient navigation as the use of a health care professional who helps patients “navigate and obtain medical care.” They found that while patient navigators increased the colonoscopy rate, the addition of either type of print material did not improve uptake of screening colonoscopy.

The authors acknowledge that their study looks at a very specific population and the results may not be generalizable. They call for further research into the effects of patient navigation.

Interpreting Medicine

A recent article in Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News highlights the need for translation services in healthcare settings.

Dr. Lisa Diamond

Dr. Lisa Diamond. Photo by Richard DeWitt.

As MSK’s Dr. Lisa Diamond explains in the piece, physician familiarity with a language does not mean the doctor can communicate medical concepts with a patient in that idiom. By law, health care providers must offer professional language services to patients in need of them. But too often, translation comes from well-intentioned but untrained staff or a patient’s family members.

Dr. Diamond and colleagues published a study in 2016 in which they analyzed surgeons’ use of interpreters at a medical center in Boston. Although this hospital has a robust interpreter service, if the wait time for an interpreter were longer than 15 minutes surgeons were more likely to use their non-English language skills or a patient’s family members, including children, as interpreters.

In the Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News article, Dr. Diamond offers one potential solution: an opt-out, rather than an opt-in system, for interpreter services. This would require language preferences to be recorded in a patient’s health record so that every patient in need of interpretation had an interpreter assigned to them.

Learn more about MSK’s Language Assistance Program.