The impact of travel on cancer patients' experiences of treatment: a literature review

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2000 Dec;9(4):197-203. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2354.2000.00225.x.


This literature review aims to identify the impact of travel on cancer patients' experiences of treatment. With centralization of cancer services, patients may have to travel considerable distances from their homes and families, to receive specialist cancer treatment. Centralization of cancer services may have advantages in terms of concentrating clinical expertise, enhancing the range of ancillary facilities and rationalising the provision of expensive specialist equipment, but it is not known to what extent patients are affected by additional travel and the prospect of separation from their social networks. A systematic literature search using MEDLINE, SSCI, SOCA and PSYCHLIT, identified 11 relevant studies from six countries. The review showed a paucity of research on the implications of receiving cancer treatment far from home. Most studies can be criticised on methodological grounds. The evidence that travel distance and difficulty increases psychological distress, and reduces compliance with treatment and take up of treatment is largely inconclusive. However, travel to cancer treatment is described as inconvenient and a practical hardship for many patients. It may be perceived, or experienced as, a barrier to treatment. Future studies should evaluate the impact of travel to treatment on quality of life and perceived social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Australia
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • France
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • North America
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regional Medical Programs / standards
  • Research Design / standards
  • Social Support
  • Time Factors
  • Travel / psychology*
  • United Kingdom