Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study looking at improving the way cancer pain is managed in the community (IMPACCT)
This study is part of a programme called IMPACCT which aims to improve the lives of people with cancer and their carers. This part of the programme is focused on medicines and is looking at ways that community pharmacies can help.
Many people with cancer have pain at some point. This can often be managed with advice on the use of medicines and coping techniques. But some people with cancer have pain that could be managed better.
Pharmacists based in the community provide services to help people with their medication, including painkillers. This study aims to plan and test a new pain medicine service that will focus on the needs of cancer patients.
The aims of the study are to
- Learn more about how cancer patients currently deal with their pain medication
- Find out what people think of having a service specifically tailored to their needs
- Design a community pharmacy service that focuses on pain medication and see what people think of it
The study is in 3 parts. The researchers need patients to join part 1 and part 3. In part 2, they are talking to healthcare professionals.
Who can enter
You cannot volunteer to take part. You may be asked to join the 1st part of the study if all of the following apply. You
- Are registered with 1 of 5 GP practices in the Bradford area that are taking part in this study
- Are at least 16 years old
- Have pain from your cancer and have been having a strong opioid painkiller such as morphine, fentanyl or oxycodone for more than 2 weeks
- Can speak and write English
You may be asked to you join the 3rd part of the study if all of the above apply and you have been regularly using one of the pharmacies taking part in the study for at least 3 months.
If you join the 1st part of the study, the researchers will arrange an interview with you. This will take up to an hour and will be at a time and place that suits you.
They will ask about how you deal with your medicines and who gives you help with this. They want to find out what is important to you and which things make your use of pain medicines harder or easier. They will also ask what you would think about a service specifically tailored to your needs.
All the information you give is
In the 2nd part of the study, the researchers will also talk to doctors, nurses, pharmacists and patient representatives about their views on how to improve pharmacy services for people with cancer.
All the information collected in parts 1 and 2 will help the study team to design a service specifically catering for people with cancer and their families.
In the 3rd part of the study, they will test the service with patients to see what they think of it. If you agree to join this part, the study team will send you a questionnaire to fill in. This will ask about any problems you currently have with medication and how well your pain is controlled. They will give you a stamped addressed envelope to return the questionnaire.
They will give you a little book containing details of your medicines. This can be a source of information for you and any healthcare professionals you come into contact with. It will include information from your GP’s records about your medicines and your cancer diagnosis. It will be designed to make the information as useful as possible.
The study team will then arrange for you to have a consultation with your pharmacist that will concentrate on pain medicines. The consultation will be with a pharmacist who has had extra training on how they can help you get the most from your pain medication. They will talk you through your medication and help with any questions you may have about it.
As is usual in this type of consultation, if the pharmacist spots a problem with your medication, or thinks you may need some extra medication, they may need to contact your GP.
The consultation with the pharmacist will take about 20 minutes. The study team will ensure this is at a time and place that suits you.
About 2 weeks after filling in the first questionnaire, the study team will send you another one. This will ask how well your pain is controlled and how useful you found different parts of the study. They will give you another stamped addressed envelope to return it. It takes about 10 minutes to fill in each of the 2 questionnaires.
There are no hospital visits involved in this study.
There are no side effects from taking part in this study.
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor Alison Blenkinsopp
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Bradford