Bladder-sparing Radiotherapy for Muscle-invasive Bladder Cancer: A Qualitative Study to Identify Barriers and Enablers

Bladder-sparing radiotherapy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) may be underutilised in North America. To understand factors driving practice we used the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to identify barriers and enablers of bladder-sparing radiotherapy utilisation.

A convenience sample of Canadian urologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists participated in individual semi-structured 1 h interviews. An interview guide was developed using the TDF to assess barriers and enablers of bladder-sparing radiotherapy use. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Two investigators independently identified barriers and enablers and assigned them to specific themes. Participant recruitment continued until saturation.

In total, 71 physicians were invited to participate and 34 (48%) agreed to be interviewed; 13 urologists, 11 radiation oncologists and 10 medical oncologists. We identified the following barriers to the use of bladder-sparing radiotherapy (relevant TDF domains in parentheses): (1) beliefs that radiotherapy has inferior survival compared with cystectomy (beliefs about consequences); (2) lack of referral from urology to radiation oncology (behavioural regulation; memory, attention and decision-making); (3) lack of 'champions' who advocate for radiotherapy (social and professional role); and (4) inadequate multidisciplinary collaboration (environmental context and resources). Predominant enablers to the use of bladder-sparing radiotherapy included: (1) 'champions' who believe in the value of radiotherapy (social and professional role); (2) beliefs by urologists that radiation oncologists should present radiotherapy options to all patients (social and professional role); (3) institutional policy that all MIBC patients should be seen by multiple specialists (environmental context and resources); (4) system facilitators of radiation oncology referral (i.e. nurse navigator) (environmental context and resources); and (5) patient-driven consultations seeking alternatives to cystectomy (social influences).

These findings identify important barriers and enablers to the use of bladder-sparing radiotherapy in MIBC. Physician beliefs, access to multidisciplinary care and institutional context should be considered in efforts to increase the use of bladder-sparing radiotherapy.

Clinical oncology (Royal College of Radiologists (Great Britain)). 2017 Sep 23 [Epub ahead of print]

M Walker, R C Doiron, S D French, D Feldman-Stewart, D R Siemens, W J Mackillop, C M Booth

Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, Queen's University Cancer Research Institute, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Department of Oncology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada., Department of Urology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada., Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada., Department of Oncology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Department of Urology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada., Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, Queen's University Cancer Research Institute, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Department of Oncology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada., Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, Queen's University Cancer Research Institute, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Department of Oncology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address: .

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