Patient reported outcomes in melanoma

Rebecca Wiltshire is a DPhil student and nurse based in the Department of Oncology and Nuffield Department of Population Health. Her background is Oncology and Haematology nursing, particularly in early phase clinical trials.

Checkpoint-inhibitor immunotherapy is an important new treatment option for many clinicians and their patients, and one of the main treatments for melanoma. These reagents are able to cure some patients who would historically have had relatively poor prognosis. For others, the benefits are more limited and given the drugs come with significant risk of major side effects. Therefore understanding in more detail how checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies affect patients’ quality of life (both in terms of side effects and how the practicalities of treatment affect patients) is crucial in terms of systematic integration into standard of care.

Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROM) are increasingly used in cancer care, particularly as the focus shifts from survival to living with the disease – and living with the side effects of treatment. Becky’s work connects Immuno-oncology and Population Health in developing PROM and patient experience questionnaire for those undergoing checkpoint-inhibitor immunotherapy to give healthcare professionals a better understanding of the patients’ quality of life, both during and after treatment. Cancer Research UK calls for research protocols to be developed with a view to gaining better insight and understanding of patient experience and quality of life. The development of a PROM for patients receiving checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies will facilitate this.

“The patient experience questionnaire will give us a better understanding of the patients’ perspective regarding their treatment. It will allow us to develop and design clinical services to better meet their [melanoma patients’] needs.”

In Oxford Becky collaborates with Michele Peters (NDPH) and Mark Middleton (Oncology), she is funded by the Department of Oncology.

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