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Future of cancer nursing

CN12 - Describing self-care behaviours in cancer patients taking oral anticancer agents


22 Sep 2021


Future of cancer nursing


Marco Di Nitto


Annals of Oncology (2021) 32 (suppl_5): S1261-S1265. 10.1016/annonc/annonc692


M. Di Nitto1, A. Durante1, F. Sollazzo1, V. Biagioli2, L. Rosito1, F. Torino1, R. Alvaro1, E. Vellone1

Author affiliations

  • 1 Biomedicine And Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 - Rome/IT
  • 2 Dipartimento Biochimica E Prevenzione, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital IRCSS Rome, Italy - Firenze/IT


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Abstract CN12


Oral anticancer agents (OAAs) are effective drugs that can be managed autonomously by patients at home with appropriate self-care behaviours. However, OAA-related behaviours have been poorly investigated. The aim of this study was to explore the self-care behaviours adopted by patients treated with OAAs.


We used a qualitative descriptive design, with semi-structured individual interviews in patients aged ≥70 years and on OAAs for at least 3 months. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using content analysis with a deductive and inductive approach. Two investigators independently performed a three-round coding of the text using NVIVO®. We followed the Middle Range Theory of Self-Care of Chronic Illnesses, including the dimensions of self-care maintenance (i.e. behaviours to maintain illness stability), self-care monitoring (i.e. monitoring symptoms and side effects) and self-care management (i.e. actions to respond to symptoms), as an organising framework for extracted codes and categories.


Overall, 22 patients with cancer were interviewed (mean age: 76 [± 5]; male 59.1%; lower secondary school education: 36.36%; tumour site lung: 22.72%). The content analysis yielded 36 codes and 9 categories. Self-care maintenance behaviours included patient strategies for ensuring adherence to OAAs, dietary adaptations and physical activity. Concerning self-care monitoring, patients reported monitoring clinical signs and symptoms related to OAAs intake, monitoring their general health status and attending all follow-up visits as recommended. Self-care management behaviours included both pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of common OAA-related side effects and communicating to the oncology team about any emerging side effects (via phone or during follow-up visits).


This study gives insights into self-care behaviours adopted by patients at home while they are taking OAAs. Evaluating patient self-care behaviours is important for establishing specific interventions aimed at improving patient self-care and patient quality of life by promoting an appropriate and safe use of OAAs.

Clinical trial identification

Editorial acknowledgement

Legal entity responsible for the study

M. Di Nitto.


“Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro i Tumori” (LILT) foundation.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

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