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5 themes described the experiences of patients with chemotherapy induced oral mucositis

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QUESTION: In patients who are receiving intensive cytotoxic treatment associated with autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, what are their experiences with mucositis?


Interpretive descriptive, phenomenological study.


A metropolitan teaching hospital in South Australia.


6 patients (4 women and 2 men, age range 38–63 y) who were receiving autologous stem cell transplantation for treatment of various haematological disorders. Exclusion criteria included inability to speak or read English and expected survival of <3 months.


Patients participated in weekly indepth interviews of approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour for 4 weeks and thereafter at week 8 and week 12 or until their symptoms of oral mucositis had resolved. 19 interviews were done, audiotaped, and transcribed verbatim. The research team identified and discussed themes emerging from the data.

Main findings

Patients lived toward a future with uncertain horizons, and the passage of mucositis was marked along a linear time trajectory with 3 phases (preparatory, …

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  • For correspondence: Dr S Borbasi, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. Sally.Borbasi{at}

  • Source of funding: no external funding.