Mothers' Experiences about Decisions to Use Children's Proton Beam Therapy

Children (Basel). 2021 Apr 2;8(4):274. doi: 10.3390/children8040274.


Recently, proton beam therapy has been recommended in radiation therapy for child-hood cancer. However, facilities for children are limited, and parents who choose this treatment for their children face a variety of challenges. This study reveals mothers' experiences about the decision to use the aforementioned therapy. A semi-structured interview was conducted with 16 mothers of children who received proton beam therapy in Japan, and a grounded theory approach was adopted. The results revealed that mothers were very worried about late complications concerning their children due to radiation. While the mothers strongly expected proton beam therapy to reduce the risk of late complications, they felt uncertainty and anxiety throughout the entire decision-making process. Despite having to deal with their feelings, they had to transfer to another hospital and prepare support for their children to begin treatment, and this put a lot of strain on them. From decision-making to start of treatment, these emotional fluctuations and the need for psychological support became apparent.

Keywords: experience; parent; pediatric nursing; proton beam therapy; radiation therapy.