Demystifying Chemotherapy – planning ahead


The hospital’s research found that patients were ill-informed about chemotherapy so a project was initiated to address the educational needs of patients and their carers prior to starting treatment. Demystifying Chemotherapy sessions were designed and tailored by a patient focus group based on its chemotherapy experience to fulfil patient needs. The group continues to support the project. Sessions have now been running for four years and have recently seen delivery support from other professionals in oncology, reinforcing the same messages and the importance of information remaining current.


The National Action Cancer Team suggested around 50% of patients experience levels of anxiety and depression at diagnosis which are severe enough to affect their quality of life (QoL) adversely. Macmillan suggests the numbers could be as high as 66%, with only a third seeking intervention. This may affect treatment compliance and in extreme cases, overall prognosis. Distress will affect patient experience and may hinder rehabilitation.


Provide timely information across all cancer sites and increase patient self-management skills. To address psychological needs and reduce anxiety, encouraging peer support. To reduce admissions that could be avoided with appropriate self-management and early interventions. To introduce patients to chemotherapy day unit then supply a resource pack with general information reflecting the session content and providing contact numbers.

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QiC Oncology Finalist 2016
Patient Care Pathway
Demystifying Chemotherapy – Planning Ahead
by Queen Alexandra Hospital


Wendy White

Job title:
Macmillan Lymphoma and TYA Clinical nurse specialist
Place of work:
Queen Alexandra Hospital
02392 286000 ext 4763

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