Advances in cancer treatment technology has empowered patients to perform chemotherapy safely and effectively at home
HONG KONG, Oct. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Quality of life is an important aspect of a cancer patient’s treatment journey. Hong Kong Society of Clinical Oncology today announced the findings from a recent research study in Hong Kong, which shows that home ambulatory chemotherapy can improve cancer patients’ quality of life and well-being during chemotherapy.
The study was conducted from November 2017 to March 2019, involving 24 cancer patients and 29 episodes of home ambulatory chemotherapy using elastomeric infusion pumps. Key findings include:
- Home ambulatory chemotherapy using elastomeric infusion pump is a safe and effective way to deliver chemotherapy.
- Patients undergoing home ambulatory chemotherapy enjoy high level of satisfaction during the treatment.
- Home ambulatory chemotherapy improves patients’ quality of life compared to hospital-based chemotherapy.
Dr Sarah WM Lee, the principal investigator of the study, member of the Hong Kong Society of Clinical Oncology, and Associate Consultant, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital said, "For patients, home ambulatory chemotherapy allows them to spend more precious time with family, improving quality of life. In addition, it helps them reduce the chance of hospital-acquired infection and avoid delay in chemotherapy schedule."
Chemotherapy – An Increase in Demand
The global cancer burden rises to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018. One in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime. In Hong Kong, cancer incidence has significantly increased over the past decade with new cases hitting a record high of 31,468 in 2016, and cancer incidence rate is projected to increase by up to 40% by 2030. The increase in cancer diagnosis will result in an increase demand for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Dr Lee points out that chemotherapy is a widely used treatment for cancer. In the past, chemotherapy can only be administered at hospitals. However, with the advancement of technology, patients can now receive intravenous chemotherapy at home safely and effectively with ambulatory chemotherapy.
"A shift in chemotherapy practice from inpatient to outpatient chemotherapy has become increasingly popular in many developed countries because of the benefits and cost effectiveness to patients and the health system," added Dr Lee. "For hospitals, ambulatory chemotherapy helps reduce hospital admission, bed occupancy, hospital workload and related cost."
Ambulatory Chemotherapy – A Safe and Easy Drug Administration Option
"Elastomeric pumps are widely used to facilitate ambulatory chemotherapy," explained Dr Lee. "The system consists of an elastomeric balloon pump and a flow restrictor which continuously and reliably administer medication into the patient’s bloodstream. This system provides a quiet, portable and light weight treatment option, respecting patient’s wish to avoid hospitalization."
In the study, a patient satisfaction questionnaire was distributed to all 24 patients on home ambulatory chemotherapy. Each questionnaire comprised of 11 essential questions. The results showed that patients benefited from high level of satisfaction during the treatment with a mean satisfaction score of 4.09 on a 5-point scale. Avoided waiting time for inpatient bed and hence potential treatment delay, improvement in quality of life compared to hospital-based chemotherapy, and patients feeling they are treated with respect and dignity are rated the highest amongst patient satisfaction.
On the safety side, the study showed no occurrences of chemotherapy infusion exceeding expected rate, and no incidence of complications such as intravenous access blockage, dislodged pump, bubbling, leakage and skin irritation.
"The emotional well-being of patients is important during the treatment," concluded Dr Lee. "Patients often feel stressed when receiving cancer treatment. Home ambulatory chemotherapy provides patients with the opportunity to receive treatment at the comfort of their home, in a familiar and safe environment, improving their quality of life and well-being."
 Lee WM. Safety and acceptance of home ambulatory chemotherapy. Presented at Hospital Authority Convention 2019.
 World Health Organization. Latest global cancer data. 12 Sep 2018.
 Hong Kong Cancer Registry. Overview of Hong Kong Cancer Statistics of 2016.
About the Hong Kong Home Ambulatory Chemotherapy Study
The study was conducted from November 2017 to March 2019, involving 24 cancer patients and 29 episodes of home ambulatory chemotherapy using elastomeric infusion pumps. The study focused on the safety and acceptance of home ambulatory chemotherapy, and patient satisfaction. The conclusions include home ambulatory chemotherapy using elastomeric infusion pump is a safe and effective way to deliver chemotherapy, patients enjoy high level of satisfaction during treatment, and such valuable service should be promoted more liberally in hospitals to improve the quality of patient service.