A study to investigate women's experiences of radiation enteritis following radiotherapy for cervical cancer

J Abayomi, J Kirwan, A Hackett, G Bagnall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Radiotherapy remains the standard treatment for cervical cancer, especially for more advanced disease. It is estimated that the prevalence of chronic radiation enteritis (CRE) post-radiotherapy is in the region of 5-15%. However, preliminary studies at the study hospital suggest the problem to be more widespread (C. Israel, unpublished data).

AIM:
This qualitative study of 10 cervical cancer patients investigates experiences of CRE and its impact on quality of life.

METHODS:
Informed volunteers participated in one-to-one tape-recorded in-depth interviews exploring experiences following treatment. These interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using NUD*IST Nvivo.

RESULTS:
The majority of women reported side-effects from radiotherapy, predominantly diarrhoea. CRE had a significant impact upon the physical, psychological and social aspects of life of sufferers, enforcing some to be virtually housebound. Other sufferers were managing their symptoms with regular medication and/or self-imposed restricted diets. Few of these women had ever sought professional help in dealing with their problems because of embarrassment or reluctance to complain.

CONCLUSIONS:
If untreated the side-effects of CRE have a disabling affect on sufferers, who may be reluctant to seek help about their symptoms. Health professionals need to be more pro-active in identifying and caring for sufferers of CRE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-363
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2005

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diarrhea/etiology
  • Enteritis/etiology
  • Fecal Incontinence/etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiation Injuries/psychology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/radiotherapy

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