Experiences of women receiving high dose rate brachytherapy for cervical cancer at an academic hospital

  • Alberta D Dzaka Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital & University of the Witwatersrand
  • Johanna E Maree University of the Witwatersrand
Keywords: Experiences, brachytherapy, cervical cancer

Abstract

The objective of this study was to present a descriptive summary of the experiences of women treated with high dose rate brachytherapy for cervical cancer. A qualitative descriptive design was used and 16 women treated at an academic hospital in Gauteng were purposively selected. Qualitative interviews were conducted and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data, from which two themes arose: the treatment experience and experiencing emotional distress. Being treated with brachytherapy was a negative experience causing fear, pain and humiliation. The participants feared the procedure, before receiving the first treatment and even after having had one. Pain was a major problem, as the preventative medication participants received did not protect them from experiencing pain. Having to open and hang their legs was a humiliating experience aggravated by the presence of observers and the rotation of doctors. Their belief in God comforted them and gave them courage to endure the treatment, whilst caring staff comforted and supported them. In addition to individualised patient education, nurses should assess the level of pain women experience before, during and after receiving brachytherapy and advocate for the revision of pain management protocols. (Full text available online at www.medpharm.tandfonline.com/ojgo) South Afr J Gynaecol Oncol 2016; DOI: 10.1080/20742835.2016.127174

Author Biographies

Alberta D Dzaka, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital & University of the Witwatersrand
MSc Nursing Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital & University of the Witwatersrand
Johanna E Maree, University of the Witwatersrand
DCur Associate Professor and Head Department of Nursing Education Faculty of Health Sciences University of the Witwatersrand
Published
2016-11-02
Section
Research Articles