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Abstract

Treatment options and duration of therapy for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) have increased. Many patients now spend in excess of 2 years on active therapy. These patients’ needs, and the ability of health services to respond to them, are poorly understood. Ten patients living with mRCC for more than 2 years and treated with at least one targeted agent were selected at random from three hospitals in the United Kingdom (UK). One interviewer who was not involved in their care conducted in-depth interviews. Interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to identify issues of greatest importance to patients, and to understand how well patients felt their needs were being addressed. Perceived delay in initial diagnosis was a major theme. Being told the truth about treatment side effects upfront was important, but was often at odds with perceived delivery. ‘Dealing with side effects’, understanding dose and its effects and not letting ‘negative thoughts get in’ were highlighted as important, but were highly personal to patients and areas where patients struggled. Concordance was observed with delivery of ‘a clear next step’ for treatment, timely access to drugs and guidance on a drug ‘holiday’. Patient experience of mRCC and its treatment requires a tailored approach. This research suggests there are key opportunities for service improvement and improved communication throughout the pathway to better meet the needs of patients, including non-clinical support to build personal resilience.

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