Oncology Pharmacy Specialty Review Course Summary Report

I had the opportunity to complete the Oncology Pharmacy Specialty Review Course offered by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) this fall. This online course package covers 20 clinical topics relevant to oncology pharmacy practice, including most solid tumors and hematological malignancies, supportive care, research and statistics, pharmacogenomics, as well as oncology pharmacy practice management. As a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP), this course meets the continuing education requirement for maintaining my certification, and allows me to fulfill my commitment for ongoing professional development and learning. 

While working through the course, I was able to learn about each type of cancer in a systematic and comprehensive way. For each disease site, I learned about screening, risk factors, prevention, staging, diagnostic and prognostic tests, pharmacotherapy and monitoring, survivorship issues, etc. The latest clinical evidence and treatment guidelines were also discussed in detail. The course is focused on case-based learning that are very applicable to real-life scenarios I would encounter in my practice. 

Another topic I find very interesting and helpful for my practice is pharmacogenomics. In the era of precision medicine and biomarkers being widely used to guide cancer therapies, it is important to have a better understanding of the various companion diagnostic tests and how to interpret the results. For example, I learned about the different types of PDL-1 testing, and when Tumor Proportion Score (TPS) vs. Combined Positive Score (CPS) would be used to assess PDL-1 expression for pembrolizumab. I also learned about the emerging role of cell free DNA assays and circulating tumor cells for biomarker testing, instead of using tissue samples from tumor biopsies. 

As a clinical oncology pharmacist at an ambulatory clinic, I am actively involved with recommending patient-specific treatment and supportive care, providing patient education and monitoring for adverse events from cancer therapies. The knowledge I have gained from this course allows me to become more confident in making therapeutic recommendations using the latest evidence and treatment guidelines, and improve quality of care to my patients.

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