Parents’ and Health-Care Providers’ Perspectives on Side-Effects of Childhood Cancer Treatment in Indonesia


Background: Efficacy of childhood cancer treatment in low-income countries may be impacted by parents’and health-care providers’ perspectives on chemotherapy-related side-effects. This study explores prevalence andseverity of side-effects in childhood cancer, and compares health beliefs about side-effects between parents andhealth-care providers, and between nurses and doctors in Indonesia. Materials and
Methods: Semi-structuredquestionnaires were filled in by 40 parents and 207 health-care providers in an academic hospital.
Results:Parents exporessed a desire to receive more information about side-effects (98%) and worried about this aspectof treatment (90%), although side-effects were less severe than expected (66%). The most frequent was behavioralteration (98%) and the most severe was hair loss. Only 26% of parents consulted doctors about side-effects.More parents, compared to health-care providers, believed that medicines work better when side-effects are moresevere (p<0.001), and accepted severe side-effects (p=0.021). More health-care providers, compared to parents,believed that chemotherapy can be stopped or the dosage altered when there are side-effects (p=0.011). Morenurses, compared to doctors, stated that side-effects were unbearable (p=0.004) and made them doubt efficacyof treatment (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Behavior alteration is the most frequent and hair loss the most severeside-effect. Apparent discrepancies in health beliefs about side-effects exist between parents and health-careproviders. A sustainable parental education program about side-effects is recommended. Health-care providersneed to update and improve their knowledge and communication skills in order to give appropriate information.Suchmeasures may improve outcome of childhood cancer treatment in low-income countries, where adherenceto therapy is a major issue.