In their voices: Kenyan women's experiences with cancer treatment–related side effects

Tayreez Mushani, Dinah Kassaman, Sharon Brownie, Peterson Kiraithe, Margaret Barton-Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This article reports on a secondary analysis of a qualitative study conducted in Nairobi, Kenya that reported several initial themes. In this article, the authors explore the theme of treatment-related side effect management by women receiving treatment for breast or cervical cancer. Methods: Women were interviewed at three points during their active treatment trajectory. Participants were purposefully selected and saturation was reached when interviews did not yield any new themes. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for internal consistency, frequency, extensiveness, intensity and specificity. The Nvivo pro 12 software was used in organizing and managing the data to facilitate analysis. Results: Eighteen women were interviewed. Major side effects reported by participants included fatigue, alopecia, skin and nail changes as well as nausea and vomiting. Women who received information prior to treatment were more comfortable managing side effects. Participants described the impact of side effects on their daily life, body image, and many sought comfort through faith. Some women provided suggestions on strategies for patient education. Conclusions: This study attempted to capture the cancer treatment-related experiences of Kenyan women in their own voices and present strategies for future intervention and research. The care of individuals receiving treatment can be enhanced through the advancement of health human resources, the development of nationally accessible patient education materials and research on regionally relevant strategies to manage cancer treatment-related side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100502
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Kenya
  • Patient education
  • Qualitative research
  • Side effects


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