Posted on Feb 16, 2023

Victoria Marshall earns $150,000 National Cancer Institute grant

Victoria Marshall earns $150,000 National Cancer Institute grant

For the last ten years, Victoria Marshall, PhD, RN has been working on improving symptoms in patients undergoing oral chemotherapy, dating back to her time at Michigan State University where her passion met her purpose working with Barbara Given, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAPOS on the Symptom Management Toolkit for Cancer Patients.

Dr. Marshall, an associate professor at the University of South Florida College of Nursing, was recently awarded a two-year R03 grant from the National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health) to the tune of $149,000 to “Explore the Use of a Web-Based Program for Older Adults Receiving Oral Anticancer Agents to Improve Communication and Self-Management.” The mission is simple, to help older adults (age 65+) sustain their oral cancer treatment as oncology care shifts from clinics to patients’ home environments.

Today, oral chemotherapy or oral anticancer agents (OAAs) can be used to treat almost any kind of cancer. They account for almost half of the new cancer treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and depending on life circumstances or failed IV treatment, OAAs can be a viable option for many older cancer patients. This population can be extremely vulnerable to adverse symptoms and side effects given their age, comorbidities, and polypharmacy.

“If someone must stop the treatment it’s a really serious thing, says Marshall, “the goal is to finish or continue treatment.” This program will provide social support and self-efficacy for taking medications, self-efficacy, and informative care on how to maintain symptoms.

Through interviews with patients, caregivers, and oncology providers, Marshall will explore the congruence of timing, frequency, and continuity of information sharing and communication regarding OAA treatment.

“I am coming back full circle,” explains Marshall, referring to the 133-page comprehensive Symptom Management Toolkit for Cancer Patients she worked on at Michigan State University that provides cancer patients with evidence-based management skills along with coping strategies for 25 common symptoms. The intervention was shown to improve symptoms using a randomized controlled trial. Copyright has been released for Marshall’s use in this study.

First, we will talk to the patient, and find out the type of information they receive when they first start their OAA medication. Then we will interview their caregiver to learn how their knowledge or understanding might differ. And lastly, speak with the oncology care provider to gain insight as to what has been communicated to the patient.

Next comes evaluating patient-reported outcomes associated with the self-management of treatment. Lastly, Marshall explains that perceptions of web-based program design features are assessed among all three stakeholders that will assist in the development of a future intervention tool to manage OAA treatment and to evaluate customized considerations needed for older adult oncology patients using technology.

Currently, Marshall is seeking caregivers to share their insights with her through 30-45 minute telephone interviews. Participants will earn a $30 gift card for their time. For more information on this study and Marshall’s research visit bit.ly/VictoriaMarshall or email vmarshall@usf.edu.