Patients follow their chemotherapy sessions at home
A pilot program allows 79-year-old Denis Edwards to undergo cancer treatment at home.
A pilot project in Alberta allows about 20 volunteer patients with a myeloma, a blood cancer, to self-administer chemotherapy at home.
Trained by oncology nurses, patients inject the drug bortezomib under the skin, much like people with diabetes who take insulin.
“I 79 years old, close to 80, and I no longer want to go back and forth [to the hospital], explains Denis Edwards who had to be free for a morning when he was going to be treated at the Tom Cancer Center Baker in Calgary.
He still goes there, but only once a month.
The idea for self-administering a pre-filled syringe came from the patients themselves, says Dr. Jason Tay, a University of Calgary hematologist and study leader.
The pilot project launched two years ago and funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation is unique in Canada, says Dr. Tay: Many patients like to manage on their own at home without having to travel as much, which is especially the case during the winter months.
Not to mention that self-medicating has beneficial emotional effects, because being at home people are not constantly reminded that they are sick, adds Dr. Jason Tay.
He points out that a sick person cared for at home frees up space in the hospital, which allows for more patients to be accommodated. He hopes that the Alberta health system will consider the benefits of this project and that they will one day be offered to patients who want them.
According to information from Jennifer Lee