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To inform improvement in cancer treatment experience and outcomes for people with dementia or milder cognitive impairment. People with dementia, compared to those without, experience more side effects from cancer treatment and have poorer outcomes including poorer survival. The research was a mixed methods exploratory case study. Each case was a cancer treatment in a person with memory loss, a common symptom of dementia. Observations were conducted in 30 clinic sessions at one cancer centre between September 2014 and February 2015. Thirty-three encounters between people with a memory problem and a staff member were observed and ten consultations recorded. Interviews were conducted with five staff members and six people receiving cancer treatment, five accompanied by their carer. Analysis, informed by hermeneutic phenomenology, enabled the treatment pathway to be mapped and modelled to reveal sites for intervention. Five potential sites of intervention were identified in the treatment pathway. Five actions at the sites of intervention that may improve patient experience and outcomes include, raising awareness of common problems for people with cognitive impairment receiving cancer treatment, encouraging disclosure of memory problems, staff training to identify memory problems and to know what to do, offering tools and techniques to aid self-management of memory problems, and addressing carer support needs. Embedding biomedical treatment of cancer within a dementia-friendly psychosocial system may enable safe cancer treatment for a greater number of people with dementia or milder cognitive impairment. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Jane Hopkinson, Amanda King, Nicholas Courtier, Rebecca Milton, Jayne Elias. Potential for identification of memory problems in the cancer clinic to enable improved treatment experience and outcomes: Mixed methods case study research. European journal of oncology nursing : the official journal of European Oncology Nursing Society. 2020 Oct;48:101777

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PMID: 32805611

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