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12 patients who received radical radiotherapy to squamous cell cancers in the head and neck area during a 4 month period.
After patients completed a course of radiotherapy, they were given diaries to record important events and feelings. Approximately 1 month after the completion of radiotherapy, indepth interviews were held in patients' homes. At the end of the interviews, patients were presented with a series of symptom cards. These were intended to prompt patient discussion of symptoms that might not have been addressed and provide opportunities for discussion of sensitive topics (eg, problems with kissing).
The distress experienced by patients during the month after radiotherapy was often hidden. Patients downplayed their experience, and many showed resignation or …
Source of funding: no external funding
For correspondence: Mary Wells, Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK. Fax (0)1382 496232.