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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 458-460

Barriers affecting adherence to radiation treatment and strategies to overcome those barriers

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Government Royapettah Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Oncology, Government Royapettah Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. R Rangarajan
Department of Radiation Oncology, Government Royapettah Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_260_17

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BACKGROUND: The WHO defines adherence as the extent to which a patient's behavior coincides with recommendations from a health-care provider. Nonadherence to cancer treatment has a major impact on the therapeutic outcome. AIM OF THE STUDY: To assess the prevalence of nonadherence to radiation regimen and to analyze the factors that affect adherence to cancer treatment. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients receiving radiation treatment in our hospital were screened for adherence to appointment keeping and to the prescribed radiation regimen and patients who had unplanned treatment breaks during treatment were interviewed. Between January and July 2013, we identified 61 patients who had unplanned breaks during treatment. We analyzed the social, emotional, educational, economic, and therapeutic barriers that led to nonadherence. RESULTS: Of the 61 patients who had unplanned breaks during treatment, 54% were males and 46% were females. Fifty-seven percent of patients had head and neck cancers and 25% had gynecological cancers. Seventy-one percent of patients were planned for concurrent chemoradiation. The number of days of unplanned treatment breaks ranged from 3 to 27 days. Social and therapeutic barriers were found to be the most common factor that led to nonadherence in these patients. CONCLUSION: Identification of barriers that lead to nonadherence, designing strategies to overcome such barriers and effective communication becomes imperative to ensure uninterrupted treatment. Based on the above analysis, we have designed several strategies to improve adherence to treatment among our patients.


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