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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 50-56

Skin-related Quality of Life among Midwestern US Community-based Women with Breast Cancer Experiencing Radiodermatitis

1 School of Nursing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL; College of Nursing, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
2 Division of Nursing Research and Education, City of Hope National Medical Center/Beckman Research Institute, Duarte, CA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Laura Curr Beamer
School of Nursing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/apjon.apjon_40_18

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Objective: Little is known about the skin-related quality of life (QOL) among women receiving external radiotherapy (EBT) and who experience breast radiodermatitis. This pilot study aimed to describe the thoughts and experiences of women experiencing breast radiodermatitis of the breast at a comprehensive community cancer program. Methods: A printed survey was used to solicit feedback on the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) during the 5th week of EBT. An open-ended question inquired which DLQI-related issue was most important and why. A directed qualitative content analysis was conducted on the narrative responses. Results: Twenty-eight women provided a response to the “most important” question. Sixty narratives led to the identification of 35 codes and six themes during content analysis. Themes included perspectives on having radiodermatitis, sensations caused by radiodermatitis, knowledge, and preparation for radiotherapy, prevention of radiodermatitis, emotions induced by skin changes, and physical appearance of the breast skin. Conclusions: The study results provide a glimpse into the perceptions of skin-related QOL among community-dwelling women who experienced breast radiodermatitis. Some women expressed that radiodermatitis had a profound impact on their QOL while other were surprised that EBT was easy compared to chemotherapy. Our findings parallel those found in a previous study conducted in an urban setting. Results provide insight into the thoughts and needs of women undergoing breast EBT. Assessing individual differences in skin-related QOL can provide needed information for tailoring care to the unique needs of each woman. Additional studies focusing specifically on skin-related QOL are needed.

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