A Qualitative Study of the Experiences During Radiotherapy of Swedish Patients Suffering From Lung Cancer

Helene Ekfors

Kerstin Petersson

ONF 2004, 31(2), 329-334. DOI: 10.1188/04.ONF.329-334

Purpose/Objectives: To describe experiences during radiotherapy of patients suffering from lung cancer.

Design: Inductive, qualitative.

Setting: A radiotherapy department in the south of Sweden.

Sample: 15 patients with lung cancer undergoing their second week of radiotherapy.

Methodologic Approach: Interviews were conducted in a hospital setting, transcribed, and content analyzed.

Main Research Variables: Experiences during radiotherapy.

Findings: The patients' experiences fall into four categories: fatigue, physical distress, managing disease- and treatment-related issues, and obstacles to managing. Fatigue was a major experience expressed in terms of low energy levels and low fitness, sometimes leading to social isolation.

Conclusions: Nurses need to implement interventions to minimize side effects of radiotherapy and maximize patients' abilities to manage the disease and the treatment.

Interpretation: Informing and educating patients about pretreatment and assessing fatigue as well as implementing interventions (e.g., nurse-patient interaction, support, information, encouragement, focus on the patients' own resources) may lead to improved comprehensive care during radiation therapy.

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