Adjuvant radiotherapy of women with breast cancer - Information, support and side-effects.

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to 1) examine the occurrence and burden of side effects over time in the period after post surgical adjuvant radiotherapy in women with breast cancer and 2) explore the women's experiences of given information and need of support to handle side effects. MATERIAL AND METHOD: 171 women with breast cancer receiving post-surgical adjuvant radiotherapy completed a questionnaire on radiotherapy-related side effects (Treatment Toxicity Assessment Tool OTTAT) at four times between the start of radiotherapy and six months after completion. Comparisons were made between women with breast conservative surgery (group A) and women with modified mastectomy (group B), and for having chemotherapy or not (C+ and C-). Questions regarding the experience of delivered information and support were added. RESULTS: Fatigue was the single most prevalent side effect and, together with skin reactions and pain, it also had the highest mean score over the study period and the largest score increase during treatment. The largest increase during the six months was seen for skin reaction, pain, and dyspnoea. The average score for skin reaction was significantly higher in group B than in group A. A majority of the women experienced the given information and support as satisfying and a need for follow-up of the side-effects was expressed. CONCLUSION: Nursing for women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant radiotherapy should focus on preventing and treating side effects, and also include the period post treatment. There is a need for developing evidence based guidelines including guidelines for follow-up.

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  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-153
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Volume14
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes