The impact of medication side effects on adherence and persistence to hormone therapy in breast cancer survivors: a qualitative systematic review and thematic synthesis

Nicola Peddie, Sommer Agnew, Megan Crawford, Diane Dixon, Iain MacPherson, Leanne Fleming

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Hormone Therapy (HT) reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality in women with breast cancer. Despite these clinical benefits, rates of HT non-adherence and non-persistence are high. Research suggests this may be due to the impact of HT side effects. However, little research has explored the individual contribution of side effects to non-adherence and non-persistence behaviours, thereby hindering the implementation of targeted intervention strategies. Our aim is to review the published literature on breast cancer survivors’ lived experiences of HT side effects and explore how these may be related to non-adherence and non-persistence behaviour.
METHODS: Electronic searches were conducted from inception to May 2020, utilising Cochrane CENTRAL, Medline, Embase, Web of Science and PsycINFO databases. Searches included a combination of terms related to breast cancer, adherence, hormone therapy and side effects.
RESULTS: Sixteen eligible papers were identified, and study quality was high. Data were thematically synthesised into four analytical themes, which encompassed 13 descriptive sub-themes: ‘Daily impact of side-effects’, ‘Role of Health Care Professionals’, ‘Managing HT side-effects’, and ‘Weighing up the pros and cons’.
CONCLUSIONS: HT side effects significantly impact breast cancer survivor’s quality of life. A lack of support from healthcare providers leads to self-management strategies, which negatively affects adherence and persistence behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalBreast
Volume58
Early online date17 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • adjuvant hormone therapy
  • breast cancer
  • persistence
  • side effects
  • qualitative
  • adherence

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