Oral chemotherapy management in the home: an exploratory case study of treatment adherence in people with cancer living in the Valleys of South East Wales

Student: TBC
Supervisor: Professor Jane Hopkinson
Location: Cardiff University
Cancer Type: All – Chemotherapy
Start and end date: Oct 17 – Oct 20

Over 25% of cancer treatment is now delivered using oral anti-cancer medications. Little is known about cancer treatment management in the home. It requires the person with cancer, but often also a carer, to have knowledge, skill and confidence in medicines management. There is potential for medication errors and patients must understand the importance of adherence, if optimal treatment outcomes are to be achieved and toxicities minimised. Those who are older, depressed, perceive less social support, are of lowest socio-economic status and those with treatment side-effects have been evidence to have lowest levels of adherence.

Patients have been reported to miss as much as one third of their prescribed dose. If treatments are not taken as prescribed, they may not work. Poor adherence can result in increased healthcare costs if disease worsens requiring additional treatments.

Research is needed to understand factors that have positive and negative effect on adherence. This study will be an exploratory case study based in the Valleys of South East Wales to gain insight into adherence with oral cancer treatment, focusing on the practical, emotional and social factors that can act as obstacles or enablers to medication adherence in the home. The purpose is to generate recommendations for improvement in adherence with prescribed medications to treat cancer in socially deprived locations, as compared to more affluent areas. The potential impact of such research is improved survival and quality of life outcomes with associated cost savings for the NHS.

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