A qualitative exploration of the experiences of patients with breast cancer receiving outpatient-based chemotherapy.

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    • Abstract:
      Aims The aim of this study was to understand the experiences of patients with breast cancer and their involvement during outpatient-based chemotherapy in Hong Kong. Background The outcome evaluation using a mixed-methods approach is not common in interventional studies of nurse-led chemotherapy care programmes. A qualitative approach could provide a deep understanding of the experiences of patients. Design A qualitative study was conducted. Methods This is part of a randomized controlled trial of a nurse-led care programme ( NCT02228200). Individual interviews were conducted in 2013 with 10 patients with breast cancer after they had completed the chemotherapy. Qualitative content analysis was adopted to analyse the interviews. Findings Chemotherapy affected the patients in different ways. Some participants completed the chemotherapy treatment smoothly with minimum side effects, while others encountered many problems during the treatment, which had a great impact on their lives. Guided by their coping attitudes, which were affected by the Chinese culture, most participants adopted behavioural, social, cognitive and emotional strategies to actively cope with the chemotherapy. A few tolerated the treatment passively. Some thought that the process of undergoing chemotherapy was physically bearable, while some equated it with suffering. Others regarded it as a chance to get a new start. Conclusion The experience of patients with breast cancer during chemotherapy can be likened to that of going on a hike. They reach the peak through different paths and bear different burdens. Yet, they have to go through until the end, regardless of how much of a burden they bear and how they achieve the peak. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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