Effectiveness of a standardized patient education program on therapy-related side effects and unplanned therapy interruptions in oral cancer therapy: a cluster-randomized controlled trial
Oral agents for cancer treatment are increasingly prescribed due to their benefits. However, oral cancer medications are difficult to handle and have a considerable potential for side effects. This type of therapy requires a high level of self-management competence by the patient. A standardized patient education program provided by physicians and oncology nurses may positively influence the handling of oral agents. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of a standardized patient education program provided by specially trained oncology nurses on therapy management regarding side effects and unplanned therapy interruptions.
One hundred sixty-five patients from 28 office-based oncology practices from all over Germany participated in this cluster-randomized controlled study. Patients of both intervention (n = 111) and standard care groups (n = 54) received the usual oncologist counseling; in addition, the patients from the intervention group (k = 17 practices) received an education from specially trained oncology nurses. The time of observation was 3 months per patient.
The patients of the intervention group reported fewer side effects (skin rash, pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting). Patients in the standard care group interrupted the therapy more frequently without informing their oncologist, compared to the intervention group.
Patients benefit from a standardized patient education program provided by specially trained oncology nurses. They tend to handle side effects and critical situations better.
KeywordsOral cancer therapy Patient education Oncology nurses Therapy-related side effects Unplanned therapy interruption
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