Background A multidisciplinary approach to care has been applied in a variety of settings in clinical oncology, particularly among patients with stomach and colorectal cancer. Multidisciplinary care integrates various disciplines and existing resources to optimise treatment plans and improve patients’ quality of life. However, the participation of clinical pharmacists as part of the multidisciplinary team in the oncology department is still in its infancy with roles yet to be defined.
Aim of review The aim of this review is to identify and discuss the role of clinical pharmacists in oncology.
Method Using the Medline 1995–2015 database, the terms cancer, “oncolog*” and chemotherapy were combined with “pharmac*”, respectively. Reference lists of articles retrieved were reviewed to identify studies that were not found in Medline searches. The identified papers were reviewed to determine the effects of clinical pharmacists in oncology. Other available resources were also used to identify relevant articles.
Results Based on the available evidence, clinical pharmacists play an important role in all aspects of cancer screening and risk assessment, patient education, opioid pain control, and monitoring adverse drug reactions. Clinical oncology pharmacists may contribute to both clinical and societal outcomes.
Conclusions Although pharmacists’ contributions to oncology have not been fully recognised, there is reason to be optimistic that clinical pharmacists will have an expanded role on oncology teams. Introducing individualised treatment plans, monitoring chemotherapy together with nursing staff, and providing patient education about medications could serve as starting points for introducing clinical pharmacists to multidisciplinary oncology teams.
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