Thoracic and breast sarcomas constitute a rare subgroup within the sarcoma population. There is limited knowledge about their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and a valid disease-specific HRQoL instrument is lacking. This qualitative study aimed to investigate the HRQoL issues experienced by a small group of thoracic and breast sarcoma patients. Semi-structured interviews with 19 thoracic and four breast sarcoma patients were conducted and thematically analysed. Physical issues mentioned by both groups were fatigue, sleep disturbances, pain, wound infections, and symptoms related to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Tightness in the back and restrictions in performing tasks above arm height were specific physical issues for breast sarcoma patients, whereas respiratory problems were only mentioned by thoracic sarcoma patients. Body image issues, changes in mood, fear of recurrence, and living with uncertainty were important mental health issues for both subgroups. Social issues in both groups included challenges in work and relationships, financial difficulties, loss of independence, and limitations in social activities. The identified physical, mental, and social health challenges can significantly impact thoracic and breast sarcoma patients’ HRQoL. Results of this qualitative study will guide personalised supportive care for breast and thoracic sarcoma patients and help in determining the best possible HRQoL measurement strategy for sarcoma patients with different primary sarcoma locations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by a research grant of the EORTC Quality of Life Group (QLG; grant no. 003?2018).Acknowledgments: This study is conducted on behalf of the EORTC Quality of Life Group and EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group and is registered at clinicaltrials.gov (accessed on 7 September 2021) (NCT04071704).
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