Eivind Richter Andersen, Aud Mette Myklebust, Grethe Eilertsen and Siren Eriksen
Stavanger University Hospital, Norway
University College of Southeast Norway, Norway
Vest fold Hospital Trust, Norway
Scientific Tracks Abstracts: Gen Med (Los Angeles)
Purpose: Acute skin toxicity is experienced by 70%�??100% of patients receiving radiation therapy following breast cancer. Most studies focus on skin appearances and treatment of such reactions, not the experience. Increased knowledge about patients�?? experience will contribute to provide tailored patient care. Thus, the purpose was to investigate patients�?? experiences of acute skin toxicity following radiation therapy for breast cancer. Patients & Methods: Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with seven women, 2�??3 weeks post-treatment. Five broad areas of inquiry were investigated: 1) experiences from the development of skin reactions; 2) experiences in day-to-day life; 3) coping strategies; 4) experiences of information; and 5) experiences from the aftercare. The interviews were analyzed in line with qualitative content analysis. Results: The main theme: �??Not so bad itself, but it comes on top of everything else�?� was identified, based upon three categories: 1) unique experience of the skin; 2) it is something about the psychological aspect; and 3) experience of information. Conclusion: Acute skin toxicity following breast cancer treatment may affect many dimensions of patients�?? lives. Experiences are complex, individual, and not necessarily consistent with visible changes of the skin. A holistic approach is necessary to provide treatment and support according to patients�?? individual needs.
Eivind Richter Andersen works as a Radiation Therapist at Stavanger University Hospital in Norway. He is especially devoted in patient follow-up and radiation induced side effects, focusing on patient perspective.