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    Quality of life in Chinese youth following open thyroid surgery: a qualitative study

    Zhu, Pingting, Zhang, Hui, Gu, Xinyue, Ding, Yinwen, Qian, Meiyan, Wang, Wen, Shi, Guanghui and Lee, Amanda ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1378-3123 (2023) Quality of life in Chinese youth following open thyroid surgery: a qualitative study. Cancer Nursing. ISSN 0162-220X

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    Abstract

    Background Because of the increased incidence of thyroid cancer and good survival rates and with research into scarless techniques, it is increasingly important to understand the quality of life of thyroid cancer patients and identify areas for improvement. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the importance of neck appearance after thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer survivors in China. Objective The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of scarring after open thyroid surgery on the quality of life of young patients. Methods A descriptive qualitative design was used. Data were collected using face-to-face semistructured interviews and analyzed using directed content analysis. Results Five men and 19 women participated in the study. The following 3 broad themes and 9 subthemes emerged, which were (1) emotional functioning, including low self-esteem due to high visibility of scars, concerns and helplessness about scarring lesions, and feelings of isolation due to lack of support; (2) social functioning, including restricted choice of employment, avoidance of socializing with others, and reduced participation in social activities; and (3) information seeking, acceptance, and living with the scar, including bargaining, seeking professional help, and use of social media. Conclusions After open surgery for thyroid cancer, patients experience a variety of scarring features that affect their quality of life. Therefore, preoperative communication and long-term postoperative care should be emphasized in clinical practice and research. Implications for practice Understanding the experience of carrying scars after thyroid cancer surgery helps provide adequate information, expectation management, and informed decision-making.

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