Distress, Pain, and Nausea on Postoperative Days 1 and 14 in Women Recovering From Breast-Conserving Surgery: A Repeated-Measures Study

Jennifer Ross Majumdar

Petra Goodman

Margaret Barton-Burke

Jaime Gilliland

Nalini Jairath

breast-conserving surgery, distress, pain, nausea, recovery at home, breast cancer
ONF 2024, 51(4), 381-390. DOI: 10.1188/24.ONF.381-390

Objectives: To determine the incidence and trajectory of distress, pain, and nausea and vomiting at postoperative day (POD) 1 and at POD 14 following breast-conserving surgery.

Sample & Setting: 75 women aged 18 years or older receiving breast-conserving surgery with sentinel lymph node biopsy for treatment of early-stage primary breast cancer at an ambulatory surgery center.

Methods & Variables: This prospective, repeated-measures study assessed distress, pain, and nausea and vomiting using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer and Problem List on POD 1 and POD 14.

Results: Pain and distress scores were highest on POD 1. The number of women who reported depression increased from POD 1 to POD 14. Thematic analysis revealed that family concerns, fears and worries, and postoperative issues contributed to pain and distress.

Implications for Nursing: Women experience pain and distress during recovery at home after breast-conserving surgery. Nurses can use these results to apply evidence-based practice to reduce this symptom burden. Future nursing research should focus on targeted interventions outside of the hospital setting.

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