Adherence to radiation therapy among cervical cancer patients at cancer diseases hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.

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Akufuna, Etambuyu
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The University of Zambia
Background: Radiation therapy has the potential to improve the cure rates and provide palliative relief for cervical cancer patients. Despite adherence to radiation therapy being a key treatment modality, patients rarely follow prescriptions. Poor adherence to radiation therapy is associated with low survival rates and high mortality rates. This study therefore sought to investigate the levels of adherence and factors influencing adherence to radiation therapy among cervical cancer patients being treated at Cancer Diseases Hospital. Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study design was used, 142 patients were selected from the Out-patient department using a fishbowl sampling method. A structured interview schedule was used to collect data. Data was entered and analyzed using SPSS, the binary logistic regression was used to predict levels of adherence to treatment as well as to identify factors associated with adherence to RT among cervical cancer patients. Results: The findings showed that, 93% of the participants adhered to radiation therapy and only 7% had not adhered to treatment. Majority of the patients 77.1% had experienced side effects of radiation therapy. About 28% of patients had severe psychological distress. Using binary logistic regression there was a statistically significant association between adherence and perceived quality of health care services (p = 0.001). The analysis showed that patients who perceived poor quality of health care services were 0.005 (99.5%) times less likely to adhere to radiation therapy. The other independent variables were not statistically significant despite being associated to adherence among cervical cancer patients. Conclusions and recommendations: The findings showed that patients who perceived good quality of health care services had higher chances of adherence compared to those who perceived poor quality of health care services. There is therefore need for quality service provision which could include good maintenance of radiation machines. Furthermore there is need to develop guidelines for follow up in case of any disease outbreak to avoid interference with patient’s treatment schedules and appointments for reviews. Key words: Cervical cancer, Adherence to Radiation Therapy, Psychological distress, Health care systems, Side effects, Economic status and Stage of the disease.
Cervical cancer. , Radiation therapy. , Radiotherapy. , Radiology. , Oncology.