Objective To explore the patients' experiences on initiation of treatment with antineoplastic medicines for colorectal cancer. Design A qualitative study using semistructured, face-to-face interviews based on the adapted patients' lived experience with medicines conceptual model was conducted. Ethics approval was granted. Interviews took place while eligible patients were receiving their first cycle of antineoplastic medicines, audiorecorded and transcribed verbatim. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used. Setting National oncology hospital in Malta. Participants Adult patients over 18 years, newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer and initiating treatment with 5-fluorouracil/folinic acid and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) or capecitabine plus oxaliplatin (XELOX) between October 2018 and September 2019 were recruited. Patients were included if fully aware of their diagnosis and the treatment being received. A purposive sample of 16 patients participated in the study. Results Five themes emerged from our analysis: (1) beliefs and knowledge on cancer and treatment; (2) healthcare system in relation to treatment; (3) medicine-taking practice; (4) medicine-related impact and (5) personal support structure. In addition, 16 subthemes were identified to describe the interplay of all aspects of the patients' experiences on initiation of treatment with antineoplastic medicines. Conclusion This qualitative study illustrated that the patients find themselves in a complex situation on initiation of treatment with antineoplastic medicines. The patients' knowledge on their specific treatment and active participation in making an informed decision need to be addressed. The healthcare system should develop tailored patient-centred services that specifically address the lack of patient empowerment and patient's concern about treatment specific information.
BRINCAT, A., VELLA BONANNO, P., STEWART, D. and WEIDMANN, A.E. 2021. Patients' experiences of medicines on initiation of antineoplastic agents for the treatment of colorectal cancer: a qualitative study. BMJ open [online], 11(12), article e047749. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047749