Qualitative study of patients’ decision-making when accepting second-line treatment after failure of first-line chemotherapy

Abstract : OBJECTIVE: Treatment failures in advanced lung cancer are frequent events affecting patients during or after first-line chemotherapy. International guidelines recommend second-line chemotherapy. However, around one half of patients who experience disease progression enter a systemic second-line therapy. In the herein qualitative study, we investigated patients' thoughts and attitudes determining the decision to undergo a second-line chemotherapy. METHODS: Thirty-three purposively selected patients who recently accepted second-line or palliative chemotherapy were invited to participate in this survey consisting of semi-structured in-depth interviews. Grounded theory was applied to investigate participants' perceptions of the context that have surrounded their decision to undergo palliative chemotherapy. RESULTS: For most patients, tumor burden and reduced quality of life in relation with lung cancer itself were major drivers of the decision-making process. There was a balance between two different attitudes: making a decision to undergo a new line of chemotherapy or starting a psychological process in order to accept end of life. Choosing between these two attitudes allowed the patient to keep the matter of palliative care at a distance. Even in case of low chance of success, many patients who worried about their life partner's future would accept a new chemotherapy line. Some patients experienced ambivalent thoughts regarding social network, particularly about their family as daily function impairment required an increased need for relative's support. The initial "Worrying about others" thoughts left place to in an increasing self-need of care as those provided by relatives; this phenomenon might increase patients' self- perception of being a burden for others. Confidence previously established with formal caregiver support was another major decision driver: some patients with sustained confidence in their medical staff may have privileged this formal support rather than family support when the latter was perceived as weak, insufficient or intrusive. CONCLUSION: This study identified three domains involved into a complex interplay for lung cancer patients' decision regarding second-line palliative chemotherapy: (i) perception of the definitive loss of health, (ii) interactions between idiosyncrasy (hope, disease burden) and environment (healthcare and social network support), and (iii) patient's subjective evaluation of chemotherapy benefit-risk.
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Soumis le : jeudi 19 septembre 2019 - 13:10:13
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Jean-Louis Pujol, Benoit Roch, Caroline Roth, Jean-Pierre Mérel. Qualitative study of patients’ decision-making when accepting second-line treatment after failure of first-line chemotherapy. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2018, 13 (5), pp.e0197605. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0197605⟩. ⟨hal-02292024⟩

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