The experience of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in adult cancer patients: a qualitative thematic synthesis

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Abstract

The aim of this review was to systematically identify, appraise and synthesise qualitative research evidence on the experience of adult cancer patients living with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). A systematic search of the literature was performed in September 2015. Qualitative studies were included if they investigated CIPN and patient experience. Quality of the articles was appraised using an adapted version of the Critical Appraisal Skill Programme Checklist for Qualitative Research (CASP 2014). Themes were identified using the thematic synthesis approach proposed by Thomas and Harden [BMC Medical Research Methodology8 (2008) 45]. Five articles presented findings generated by 88 patients who had all received neurotoxic chemotherapy. Sample sizes from included studies varied from 1 to 28 patients; all studies originated from America and were published between 2005 and 2015. Four analytical themes emerged: (1) CIPN is an unclear experience, (2) a less important risk, (3) impact on quality of life and (4) a feature of cancer survivorship. In conducting this synthesis, the lack of qualitative evidence in this specific condition is evident. Further studies are needed outside of America, to focus on CIPN risk communication approaches by healthcare professionals, patient understanding and perception of CIPN risk and interventions to promote early detection of CIPN including effective reporting and assessment.

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