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Research protocol : Cisplatin-associated ototoxicity amongst patients receiving cancer chemotherapy and the feasibility of an audiological monitoring program

Paken, J. ; Govender, C. D. ; Sewram, V. (2017-12-11)

CITATION: Paken, J., Govender, C. D. & Sewram, V. 2017. Research protocol : Cisplatin-associated ototoxicity amongst patients receiving cancer chemotherapy and the feasibility of an audiological monitoring program. BMC Women's Health, 17:129, doi:10.1186/s12905-017-0486-8.

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Abstract Background Cisplatin is an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug classified as an alkylating agent. It is used for the treatment of a variety of cancers such as cervical, breast, stomach, prostate, bladder and oesophageal, to name a few. However due to its expansive toxicity profile, patients receiving cisplatin can experience high frequency hearing loss, a side effect known as ototoxicity. The dearth of information on the extent and severity of cisplatin-associated ototoxicity in South Africa prevents the implementation of a context-specific audiological monitoring programme. Methods This study aims to determine the extent and severity of ototoxicity amongst patients with cervical cancer, receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy and hence the feasibility of an ototoxicity monitoring program in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A concurrent mixed methods design will be employed in the study. This longitudinal study will involve interviewing oncology nurses, oncologists, pharmacists and audiologists to assess the level of awareness to ototoxicity, as well as conducting diagnostic audiological evaluations at regular intervals on 78 patients with cervical cancer to ascertain the progression of hearing loss during and after chemotherapy. The feasibility of the monitoring program will be assessed as a parallel process to the audiological evaluations, where patient outcomes and cost implications to the patient and the health sector will be considered. Data will be subjected to statistical analyses so as to strengthen knowledge in the field and inform appropriate policies, and healthcare providers. Discussion This study is the first longitudinal study in South Africa to determine the ototoxic effects of cisplatin therapy on patients diagnosed with cervical cancer. Thus, the results generated from this study is likely to bring novel information to the fore using an evidence-based approach that will influence policy and clinical practice which can vastly improve the quality of life of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Mitigation of any further loss in the quality of life of affected patients is of paramount importance and the data generated from this project can lay the basis for further effective dialogue towards policy formulation on an ototoxic monitoring programme and the resultant strengthening of health systems in limited resource settings.

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