Original Research

Parents are aware of the ototoxic effects of chemotherapy in paediatrics undergoing cancer treatment – Professional versus parental views: A pilot study

Nomfundo F. Moroe, Kirstie Hughes
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 64, No 1 | a183 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v64i1.183 | © 2017 Nomfundo F. Moroe, Kirstie Hughes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2016 | Published: 27 February 2017

About the author(s)

Nomfundo F. Moroe, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Kirstie Hughes, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The primary goal of chemotherapy is to cure cancer and its symptoms. Hence, in recent years, there has been an increase in cancer paediatric survival rate. However, there have also been adverse side effects such as ototoxic hearing loss because of chemotherapy. Therefore, this study aimed at exploring whether the parents of children undergoing chemotherapy are aware of ototoxic effects of chemotherapy.

Methods: A non-experimental quantitative study was conducted to collect data through questionnaires, one for paediatric oncologists and the other for parents. A convenience sampling strategy was employed to recruit 11 paediatric oncologists and 7 parents from two public hospitals in Gauteng. The questionnaires were analysed quantitatively, using descriptive statistics.

Results: About 55% of paediatric oncologists indicated informing parents about the ototoxic effects of chemotherapy. On the contrary, 71% of parents reported having been informed by paediatric oncologists about the possible hearing loss because of chemotherapy; however, 57% of the children are receiving a combination of cisplatin and cyclophosphamide despite being aware of their ototoxic nature.

Conclusion: This study paves the way for qualitative studies to ascertain how parents are informed about the possible side effects such as hearing loss because of chemotherapy treatment. The mode in which parents are informed about the possible side effects related to chemotherapy is critical, considering that a high number of children are still receiving chemotherapeutic drugs that are directly linked to hearing loss.


Keywords

paediatrics oncologists; ototoxic; chemotherapy; parents; hearing loss

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