Setting the research agenda for living with and beyond cancer with comorbid illness: reflections on a research prioritisation exercise

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Abstract / Description of output

People living with and beyond cancer are more likely to have comorbid conditions and poorer mental and physical health, but there is a dearth of in-depth research exploring the psychosocial needs of people experiencing cancer and comorbid chronic conditions. A patient partnership approach to research prioritisation and planning can ensure outcomes meaningful to those affected and can inform policy and practice accordingly, but can be challenging.
We aimed to inform priorities for qualitative inquiry into the experiences and support needs of people living with and beyond cancer with comorbid illness using a partnership approach. A three-step process including a patient workshop to develop a consultation document, online consultation with patients, and academic expert consultation was carried out. The research prioritisation process was also appraised and reflected upon.
Six people attended the workshop, ten responded online and eight academic experts commented on the consultation document. Five key priorities were identified for exploration in subsequent qualitative studies, including the diagnostic journey, the burden of symptoms, managing medications, addressing the needs of informal carers, and service provision. Limitations of patient involvement and reflections on procedural ethics, and the challenge of making measurable differences to patient outcomes were discussed.
Findings from this research prioritisation exercise will inform planned qualitative work to explore patients’ experiences of living with and beyond cancer with comorbid illness. Including patient partners in the research prioritisation process adds focus and relevance, and feeds into future work and recommendations to improve health and social care for this group of patients. Reflections on the consultation process contribute to a broadening of understanding the field of patient involvement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Involvement and Engagement
Issue number1
Early online date29 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Apr 2020


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