A New Way to Tackle Cancer Treatment in Argentina: Bringing Chemotherapy to People's Homes

This text is based on the article At-home chemotherapy: offering treatment outside hospital in Argentina, published in 'Home Healthcare Now' in June 2021

In Argentina, living with cancer is a significant challenge, with more than 130,000 diagnoses annually. The traditional approach involves traveling to hospitals for chemotherapy, causing disruptions and health risks due to long wait times and weakened immune systems. Recognizing these issues, a collaborative team in Buenos Aires introduced a solution in 2018: bringing chemotherapy directly to people's homes.

For those fighting cancer, frequent hospital trips for chemotherapy are not only time-consuming but also pose health risks. To address this, a team from the Central Military Hospital and the Nutritional Support Centre in Buenos Aires initiated a groundbreaking service in 2018. They began providing chemotherapy at people's homes, led by specially trained nurses, and supported by remote doctors. To qualify, patients needed a clean history of reactions to previous treatments, a caregiver during sessions, and homes with basic facilities.

Between February 2018 and May 2020, 147 individuals received 1,018 chemotherapy treatments at home. Impressively, over 90% of these sessions concluded without serious adverse reactions. Patient feedback emphasized the preference for home-based treatment, highlighting the perceived safety and comfort compared to hospital settings. This success prompts the team to now focus on expanding the service beyond Buenos Aires, with plans to make home-based chemotherapy accessible throughout Argentina.

Efforts include developing systems for stable medication transportation over long distances. This effort could revolutionize cancer care, offering a more accessible and comfortable alternative for individuals across the nation. The insights gained from this initiative underscore the potential of innovative approaches to improve the lives of those facing the challenges of cancer treatment.

This text is part of the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) repository of best practices and innovations to address the cancer workforce crisis in Europe. You can find more examples of best practices here.