Exploring perceptions and experiences of oral chemotherapy in people with cancer
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Exploring perceptions and experiences of oral chemotherapy in people with cancer

Ana Costa Haemato-oncology nurse, Cancer services, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, England
Caroline McGraw Lecturer (public health), City University London School of Health Sciences, Health Service Research and Management, London, England

The increasing use of oral chemotherapy treatment for cancer offers benefits in terms of care closer to home. However, these formulations are associated with a significant number of adverse events. One source of error is patient non-adherence, resulting in treatment resistance, increased toxicity, disease progression and even death. This literature review explores how people with cancer perceive and experience adherence to oral chemotherapy. Thematic analysis identified four main themes: my own way of doing things, understanding how oral chemotherapy works, not being alone and things beyond my control. Barriers to adherence included health beliefs, medication side effects and lack of access to ongoing advice and support. The authors argue that adherence to oral chemotherapy is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. They recommend that healthcare practitioners should provide personalised counselling at the point of prescription and review, as well as accessible support between appointments.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2018.e1464


Costa A, McGraw C (2018) Exploring perceptions and experiences of oral chemotherapy in people with cancer. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2018.e1464

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 01 June 2018

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