The specialty of critical care oncology has emerged as a result of changes in treatment of malignancies and technologic critical care developments. In this article, the author provides the experienced critical care nurse with an overview of the practice of critical care oncology and the unique needs of these patients. Methods for predicting critical illnesses in specialized cancer populations are provided. Also included is a summary of universal cancer care issues such as bone marrow suppression, venous access, chronic pain, and nutrition disorders that cross all specially areas. This article serves as a basis and resource for practicing critical care nurses and includes background information for the other articles included in this journal issue

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