Lived experiences of women reporting fatigue during PARP inhibitor maintenance treatment for advanced ovarian cancer: A qualitative study
SourceGynecologic Oncology, 160, 1, (2021), pp. 227-233
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 17: Women's cancers RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVE: Oral PARP inhibitors (PARPi) have dramatically changed the treatment landscape for patients with advanced ovarian cancer. However, a subset of patients discontinue PARPi due to treatment-related fatigue. The current study sought to explore patients' lived experiences with fatigue on PARPi. METHODS: We conducted individual semi-structured interviews with N = 23 women receiving PARPi for advanced ovarian cancer who reported moderate to severe fatigue. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed and we used thematic analysis to code transcripts for emergent themes. RESULTS: Four overarching themes emerged. First, participants described their fatigue as milder than what they experienced on intravenous chemotherapy, but noted it consistently limited their daily activities, including work, and interfered with participation in family and social events. Second, fatigue negatively impacted participants' sense of self and identity. Third, most wanted to continue treatment and believed discontinuing PARPi would lead to a cancer recurrence or death. Finally, many participants reported that their support networks were unaware of their ongoing cancer treatment or the resulting fatigue; a situation that may prove isolating and result in reduced social support. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore patients' persistent experience of fatigue on PARPi, the impact of fatigue on multiple domains of functioning, and a lack of understanding of side effects resulting from oral maintenance treatments among patients' social networks. Our findings highlight the need for interventions to address treatment-related fatigue to limit the negative impacts of fatigue on ovarian cancer patients' well-being.
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