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Perceptions and Experiences of Patients Receiving Oral Chemotherapy

Brett Simchowitz
Lawrence Shiman
Justin Spencer
Daniela Brouillard
Anne Gross
Maureen Connor
Saul N. Weingart
CJON 2010, 14(4), 447-453 DOI: 10.1188/10.CJON.447-453

Although many patients prefer orally administered cancer therapy (including oral chemotherapy) because of its convenience, the shift from hospital to home-based administration creates concerns. This article explores the perceptions and experiences of oral chemotherapy users and their caregivers to assess vulnerabilities and improvement opportunities at each stage of the medication process: choosing oral chemotherapy, prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring. The authors recruited 15 current and former oral chemotherapy users, as well as caregivers who administered the medications to children, to participate in one of two focus group sessions at a comprehensive cancer center. Participants largely were satisfied with oral cancer therapy but raised concerns regarding their lack of preparedness for side effects and their unfamiliarity with the possible techniques to mitigate drug toxicity. Participants also described difficulties obtaining medications through retail pharmacies. Parents of pediatric patients with cancer indicated concerns regarding their children's emotional health and correct medication administration. Participants believed that the initial prescribing encounter should have included more education, and they also wanted more frequent follow-up by healthcare practitioners. As oral cancer therapy is used more widely, oncology healthcare providers will need to create robust mechanisms to support their safe use.

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