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Survivor perspectives on the role of the community pharmacist in breast cancer services

Tutt, Lydia; Thornley, Tracey; Chen, Lia-Chia; Anderson, Claire


Lydia Tutt

Lia-Chia Chen


Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Due to advances in treatment and earlier diagnosis, people are surviving for longer and often require long-term medication. The increased demand for breast cancer-focused primary care services has created scope for community pharmacy to take on a larger role. This study aimed to explore the requirements and opinions of breast cancer survivors towards new community pharmacy-based cancer services.

Methods: Focus groups were conducted with female breast cancer survivors recruited from community pharmacies across Warwickshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire using convenience sampling. Eligible participants were over 18, received treatment for breast cancer within primary care in England, and at least two years had passed since initial diagnosis. Data was digitally audio recorded, fully transcribed and analysed using iterative thematic analysis.

Results: Three focus groups (10 participants) and three interviews (for those who could not attend focus groups) were conducted before data saturation was achieved. Survivors reported information overload during initial hospital treatment then feeling abandoned post-discharge. Key barriers to care included: lack of information provision; wrong level of support at wrong time; being unsure where to access support; no continuity of care and pressures on NHS. Strategies to improve survivor experience included: personalised, holistic and proactive care; referral to community pharmacy from hospital; appropriate signposting; and better survivor understanding of healthcare professionals' expertise.

Conclusions: Findings provide insight into survivor perspectives on breast cancer care provided in the community, and highlight key opportunities for community pharmacists to make a difference. Data can be utilised by community pharmacists and other healthcare providers to improve current practice; as well as to facilitate the development of future interventions to better support breast cancer survivors throughout their journey. Future work will investigate community pharmacist perspectives on the feasibility of introducing such an intervention to meet these care needs.


Tutt, L., Thornley, T., Chen, L., & Anderson, C. (2018). Survivor perspectives on the role of the community pharmacist in breast cancer services. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 14(8), e31.

Journal Article Type Meeting Abstract
Online Publication Date Jul 19, 2018
Publication Date 2018-08
Deposit Date Jan 16, 2023
Journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Print ISSN 1551-7411
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 8
Pages e31
Public URL
Publisher URL