E-poster Presentation 2014 World Cancer Congress

Exploring the education and information needs of patients on oral anticancer medications (#926)

Susan O Reilly 1 , terry hanan 1 , Louise Mullen 1 , Orla Walsh
  1. Health Service Executive Ireland, Dublin, DUBLI, Ireland


The use of oral anticancer medicines (OAM’s) is increasing. A move away from chemotherapy infusions delivered in hospitals to patients having their oral medications dispensed by retail pharmacists and taken at home, has resulted in a shift in responsibility from health professionals to patients and caregivers. Use of OAM’s will increase over the coming years,therefore safety is critical. In this regard identifying patient information and education needs is essential.


The study examined the information and education needs of patients taking OAM’s from the perspectives of patients themselves, pharmacists and medicaloncology personnel.


This qualitative study was undertaken in a Dublin cancer centre using:

  • Semi-structured interviews with twenty patients
  • Telephone interviews with five community pharmacists
  • Medical oncology personnel focus group, 5 team members present


A thematic analysis of the transcripts highlighted important safety factors including

·         For patients: being accompanied at consultations and establishing a routine in taking OAM’s

·         For pharmacists: reiterating key safety messages to patients on taking OAM’s, verification of clinical checks

·         For medical oncology personnel: interdisciplinary management of OAM’s, dedicated clinics and an

      OAM checklist.

·         All participants: oral and written information; 24 hour oncology team contact details


A National Oncology Medication Safety Review showed that a diversity, and sometimes absence, of processes in managing OAM’s.  As they can be as toxic as IVs, patients need to know about potential side-effects and their management. Compliance with prescribed regimens is essential. This study will inform the development of national guidelines on the information and education needs of patients taking OAM’s. It will contribute to patient safety through multidisciplinary engagement and education.