Background and importance The importance of empowering patients to be active participants in their care gained policy attention in the last years. To promote this, patients’ access to evidence based information is of paramount importance. Identification and addressing misconceptions about disease management are critical components to improve knowledge and communication between healthcare professionals and patients.
Aim and objectives To identify patients’ misconceptions about antineoplastic treatment following initiation of treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC).
Material and methods Prospective indepth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 newly diagnosed patients with CRC during their first cycle of treatment with XELOX or FOLFOX. Ethical approval was acquired. Interviews held between October 2018 and September 2019 were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using an interpretative phenomenological approach and key themes were identified.
Results These results are part of a larger study about patients’ experiences following initiation of antineoplastic medicines. A subtheme identified was patient understanding of antineoplastic medicines. All patients were acquainted with the term ‘chemotherapy’ and described that hearing this word induced “fear of the unknown” (P014). Misconceptions identified in relation to the prescribed antineoplastic treatment were related to the method of administration “It looks simple here, as a drip, no?!” (P015), mode of action “What does it contain radiation?”(P014) and adverse effects “(..)really afraid I will lose my hair..especially from the beard!” (P007) and safety “I’ve started ginger pills and vitamin C to prevent me from catching a cold. Being herbal treatment, there’s no need to tell the doctor” (P016).
Conclusion and relevance This study highlighted that patients had misconceptions about antineoplastic treatment that persisted after attending a nurse led information session and following initiation of treatment. This exposed the need to have an individualised tailored information approach which deliberately targets specific misconceptions. This gap may be addressed by the inclusion of clinical pharmacists as medicines experts within the multidisciplinary oncology team.
Conflict of interest Corporate sponsored research or other substantive relationships: The research work disclosed in this publication was funded by the Tertiary Education Scholarships Scheme.
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