Qualitative Analysis of Knowledge, Attitudes and Experiences Regarding Urinary Symptoms among Postmenopausal Women Taking Aromatase Inhibitors for Early Stage Breast Cancer (#291)
With ongoing advances in early detection and treatment effectiveness, women are living longer with breast cancer. With such promising outcomes many women are advised to consider the long-term effects of a cancer diagnosis including the side-effects of treatment on long-term quality of life (QoL). Urinary symptom as a result of endocrine therapy is one concern and research in this area is lacking. This study aimed to explore views and experiences of living with urinary symptoms, associated QoL and sexual issues among postmenopausal women receiving aromatase inhibitors (AIs). We conducted 11 in-depth face-to-face and telephone interviews until thematic saturation was reached. Multiple thematic analyses of data were undertaken following verbatim transcription. The median age of the sample was 66 years (mean=66.36, S.D.=5.52; range=56-77). Urinary symptoms were described as impacting adversely on several activities in daily life, including simple tasks such as driving around. Among women with a partner, urinary disorders did not impact as severely on sex life as breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Help-seeking behaviour was hindered mostly because of the feeling that urinary concerns were not a major health problem in their lives compared with breast cancer. Additional barriers were lack of knowledge, perception that symptoms were not sufficiently severe and treatment costs. The majority of women reported a lack of available information and indicated preference for paper-based methods of communication such as pamphlets and also information provided by either their general practitioner or oncologist. The views and demands identified by participants in the present study provide a good preliminary insight into the urinary symptoms-related information needs of women with a diagnosis of early breast cancer taking AIs. Urinary symptoms have a negative impact on QoL and this could be ameliorated by treatment. However, there are barriers to uptake which may be overcome by interventions that aid early identification and acknowledgment of symptoms in order to facilitate help seeking.