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Children Undergoing Radiotherapy: Swedish Parents' Experiences and Suggestions for Improvement
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
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2015 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, no 10, e0141086Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Approximately 300 children, from 0 to 18 years old, are diagnosed with cancer in Sweden every year. Of these children, 80-90 of them undergo radiotherapy treatment for their cancer. Although radiotherapy is an encounter with advanced technology, few studies have investigated the child's and the parent's view of the procedure. As part of an ongoing multi-center study aimed to improve patient preparation and the care environment in pediatric radiotherapy, this article reports the findings from interviews with parents at baseline. The aim of the present study was twofold: to describe parents' experience when their child undergoes radiotherapy treatment, and to report parents' suggestions for improvements during radiotherapy for their children. Sixteen mothers and sixteen fathers of children between 2-16 years old with various cancer diagnoses were interviewed. Data were analyzed using content analysis. The findings showed that cancer and treatment turns people's lives upside down, affecting the entire family. Further, the parents experience the child's suffering and must cope with intense feelings. Radiotherapy treatment includes preparation by skilled and empathetic staff. The parents gradually find that they can deal with the process; and lastly, parents have suggestions for improvements during the radiotherapy treatment. An overarching theme emerged: that despair gradually turns to a sense of security, with a sustained focus on and close interaction with the child. In conclusion, an extreme burden was experienced around the start of radiotherapy, though parents gradually coped with the process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public library science , 2015. Vol. 10, no 10, e0141086
National Category
Cancer and Oncology Pediatrics Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging Nursing
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-112008DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141086ISI: 000363918100051PubMedID: 26509449OAI: diva2:875203
Available from: 2015-11-30 Created: 2015-11-30 Last updated: 2015-12-01Bibliographically approved

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Ångström-Brännström, CharlotteMullaney, TaraSvärd, Anna-MajaNyholm, TufveLindh, JackLindh, Viveca
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Department of NursingUmeå Institute of DesignDepartment of Radiation Sciences
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Cancer and OncologyPediatricsRadiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical ImagingNursing

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