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Being diagnosed with any form of cancer can lead to all kinds of complex feelings, fears and concerns. Living with that diagnosis and receiving ongoing treatment often takes its toll on a patient’s mental and physical wellbeing. It can also affect personal relationships and their ability to work and do the things they enjoy. What if we could reduce some of that burden for patients through at-home cancer treatment services?

Chemotherapy is a vital tool in fighting cancer, but it can be an arduous experience for patients. However, there are ways in which we can improve patients’ experience of cancer treatment, helping them to have a better quality of life while receiving treatment. Recent research commissioned by Sciensus highlights how treatment at home could help alleviate many of the challenges faced by cancer patients.

The research suggests that, overall, patients were equally satisfied with their treatment experience whether at home or in a clinic. However, patients who had systemic anti-cancer therapy at home were less likely to report experiencing challenges during treatment. Key concerns for those who were treated in a clinic, 52% of whom reported experiencing some challenges, related to the time-consuming nature of frequent hospital visits and the impact on their ability to manage their day-to-day responsibilities.

One patient said: “I didn’t want to drive to the hospital I had to go to, I know what parking’s like there. It’s hell. You can take an hour to find a parking space sometimes.”

On the other hand, the overwhelming message from patients who had received cancer treatment at home was that it allowed them to continue with most of their usual activities such as work, keeping up with housework, hobbies and caring for their families. For many, not having to travel to hospital for treatment enabled them to maintain a sense of normality in their lives.

Another patient commented: “My treatment was at 11:30 every Friday. I was able to work a four-day week and work on Mondays from home. So that was really, really good. I could recover over the weekend, work on Monday from home and then work three days and then have the treatment.”

While the research identified some misgivings about the safety and effectiveness of cancer treatment at home, patients who had received treatment at home conveyed a sense that it gave them fewer things to worry about in general. This includes arranging transport and childcare and a fear of picking up an infection or illness in hospital.

Those who received cancer treatment at home were also less likely to feel that their friends and family faced challenges than those who were treated in a clinic. This further alleviated the fear of being a burden on others, which is often a difficult reality for patients to accept.

To read a full summary of the research, please visit Investigating Patient Benefits in Home vs. Clinic-Based Treatment.