Introduction: Performing brachytherapy on female patients with gynaecological cancer is a sensitive procedure, apart from it being an intricate investigation. The aim of this study: establishing gynaecological cancer patients' expectations, experiences and understandings of the high dose-rate brachytherapy treatment procedure. Exploring these patients' life-worlds provides further insights into improving their preparedness and experiences.
Methods: A qualitative research design with a descriptive phenomenological research approach was used. Recruitment entailed using purposive sampling. To obtain rich insights into the lived experiences, data was acquired through semi-structured interviews until data saturation.
Results: Major challenges were experienced with mixed thoughts and feelings, from negative trauma to desires being fulfilled. These patients should have received more information regarding their upcoming brachytherapy treatment. This would have alleviated some of their fears and anxieties, which would in turn have provided them with a better brachytherapy treatment experience. Envisaged outcomes and desires are used to cope. Patients influence each other negatively, so they rather wanted to "see for themselves".
Conclusion: Despite some disappointments and negative experiences throughout the brachytherapy continuum, the patients were left with a positive outlook, saying that it is an excellent and necessary treatment. Further studies should be done to elaborate on fulfilments of recommendations in the brachytherapy department of radiation oncology.