New research: Travelling abroad for cancer treatment

The incidence of cancer is on the rise globally and under particular circumstances, patients are willing to travel abroad for healthcare treatments. We know relatively little however about patients travelling overseas for cancer-related screening, diagnosis and treatment. A new paper scopes the literature on patients who travel abroad for this type of care.

The paper, “Scoping the literature on patient travel abroad for cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment” is co-authored by Neil Lunt, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, UK and Ka-wo Fung Department of Social Work, Soochow University, Taiwan.

The review presents the first published assessment of what the authors term ‘trans-national oncology treatment’, defined as patients travelling overseas or across borders for cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.

The review undertakes a detailed search and retrieval of the literature, using an accepted scoping review method.  The authors present a narrative review of existing knowledge and themes, identifying coverage and gaps. They state there is a five-fold agenda for future investigation: trajectories and itineraries; in-depth focus on treatment decisions, experiences and outcomes; locating patient travel within wider health system analysis; exploration of professional perspectives and coordination; and situating travel within the context of health trade.