A190: Development of a consumer orientated food-safety education strategy for chemotherapy patients and family-caregivers

Ellen W. Evans1,Adrian C. Peters1,Simon Dawson1,Elizabeth C. Redmond1

1Cardiff School of Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Presenting date: Monday 2 November
Presenting time: 13.10-14.00


Patients receiving chemotherapy have an increased risk of foodborne illness due to immunosuppression, indeed the risk of listeriosis is reportedly five-time greater to chemotherapy patients than the general population. Consequently, it is essential for patients/family-caregivers to ensure food safety at home. However, it is suggested that limited food-safety information is available to chemotherapy patients/family-caregivers in the UK and data on food-safety practices during chemotherapy are particularly lacking.


A review of food safety information in the UK, along with a consumer orientated approach involving in-depth interviews, self-complete questionnaires and focus groups, allowed for the design, development and evaluation of a targeted food-safety education strategy.


A review of food-related information available to chemotherapy patients obtained from 42 of 141 NHS chemotherapy providers established that many failed to highlight importance of food-safety to prevent infection, considerable gaps exist and information varied between sources. In-depth interviews (n=15 patients/family-caregivers) determined food-safety was of minimal concern during treatment, food-safety information during chemotherapy was considered to be inconsistent, insufficient, and particularly sought-after. Self-complete questionnaires (n=172 patients/family-caregivers) determined that despite increased awareness of the importance of food-safety, malpractices were reported and perceived risks were underestimated, particularly among patients. During chemotherapy, information on ‘keeping-active’/‘healthy-eating’ were significantly (p<0.05) more likely to be received than on ‘food-safety’. Focus groups (n=23 patients/family-caregivers) enabled design, development and evaluation of food-safety education interventions. To enable a sense of ‘control’ for food-safety, risk-reducing behaviours not only needed to be recommended, but why they are important needed to be addressed.


This research project has informed the design, development and evaluation of targeted food-safety interventions using a data driven audience orientated approach. This, alongside input from food safety experts has resulted in tailored food-safety resources that may help to increase implementation of risk-reducing food-safety behaviours for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and thus reduce risk of foodborne illness.