The impact of scars on health-related quality of life after breast surgery: a qualitative exploration

Auteurs Kristel E. Everaars, Marlies Welbie, Stefan Hummelink, Esther P.M. Tjin, Erik H. de Laat, Dietmar J.O. Ulrich
Gepubliceerd in Journal of Cancer Survivorship
Publicatiedatum 2021
Lectoraat Innovatie van Zorgprocessen in de Farmacie
Soort publicatie Artikel


Purpose The purpose of this research was to explore women’s experiences after breast surgery with scar characteristics and symptoms, and its impact on their health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Material andmethods A qualitative study using semi-structured face-to-face interviewswas conducted among women following prophylactic, oncologic, or reconstructive breast surgery in the Netherlands. A directed content analysis was performed using guiding themes. Themes were “physical and sensory symptoms,” “impact of scar symptoms,” “personal factors,” “impact of scar interventions,” and “change over time.” Results The study population consisted of 26 women after breast surgery. Women experienced a wide range of symptoms like adherence, stiffness, pain, and uncomfortable sensations. Scar characteristics as visibility, location, texture, and size, influenced satisfaction with their appearance. The impact of scar symptoms is reflected in physical, social, emotional, and cognitive functioning, thereby affecting HRQOL. The experienced impact on HRQOL depended on several factors, like personal factors as the degree of acceptance and environmental factors like social support. Conclusion Women can experience a diversity of scar characteristics and symptoms, which play a central role in the perceived impact on HRQOL. Since scarring can have a considerable impact on HRQOL, scarring after prophylactic, oncologic and reconstructive breast surgery should be given more attention in clinical practice and research. Implications for Cancer Survivors Considering scarring as a common late effect after breast surgery and understanding the variety of experiences, which could impact HRQOL of women, can be beneficial in sufficient information provision, expectation management, and informed decision making.

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Taal Engels
Gepubliceerd in Journal of Cancer Survivorship
Jaar en volume 15 2
Trefwoorden scars, breast cancer, surgery, satisfaction, health-related quality of life, qualitative study
Paginabereik 224-233

Kristel Everaars

Kristel Everaars | onderzoeker | lectoraat Innovatie van Zorgprocessen in de Farmacie

Kristel Everaars

  • Promovendus
  • Lectoraat: Innovatie van Zorgprocessen in de Farmacie