Survey Reveals Research Priorities for Cancer Patients, Oncology Nurses

A new study asked oncology nurses for their opinions on the best future direction of cancer research.
A new study asked oncology nurses for their opinions on the best future direction of cancer research.

Researchers surveyed both cancer patients and oncology nurses to identify their top priorities for future research.1

“People living with cancer provide a valuable contribution in informing research agendas for oncology nursing and should have an input in future priority setting,” said Emma Ream from the University of Surrey and a co-author of the study. "Our study demonstrates the importance of seeking the opinions of cancer patients, as what they consider important may not mirror what the profession considers a priority. Too often the voice of cancer patients is unheard, but if services are to improve we should listen to the very people they are affecting."

According to patients, palliative and end-of-life care should be prioritized for future study, with a focus on care in the community and access to specialist palliative care and oncology support. Patients also expressed the need for further research on cognitive changes that might occur as such changes can be distressing to both the patient and their families.

In contrast, oncology nurses prioritized the importance of future research on eHealth and technology to manage cancer symptoms at home. This suggests that nurses are responsive to possible service changes.

Both groups prioritized further research into identifying early cancer symptoms and the need for psychosocial support and anxiety management services. Identification of early cancer symptoms is consistent with previous findings that early cancer diagnosis leads to more effective care and improved survival rates.

Richard Henry, president of United Kingdom Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) said, "Cancer nurses are at the forefront of care delivery and are acutely aware of those factors which affect and influence care. UKONS is delighted to have been able to facilitate this study that articulates this knowledge and understanding so succinctly whilst acknowledging and embracing the patient perspective."

Reference

1. Cox A, Arber A, Gallagher A, et al. Establishing priorities for oncology nursing research: nurse and patient collaboration. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2017;44(2):192-203. doi: 10.1188/17.ONF.192-203 [Epub ahead of print]

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