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Experience of using a virtual reality rehabilitation management platform for breast cancer patients: a qualitative study



Postoperative rehabilitation of upper limb function is crucial for breast cancer. Therefore, we developed a rehabilitation management platform using virtual reality to improve rehabilitation compliance and effect. The purpose of this research was to understand the user usability experience of breast cancer patients about the postoperative rehabilitation management of upper limb function using virtual reality.


A qualitative descriptive research was designed. We used a maximum difference purpose sampling method. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, a 3-armor hospital in Changchun was selected for the recruitment. A one-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients after breast cancer operation. The Colaizzi seven-step analysis method was used to classify data under summarized themes.


Twenty patients participated in this semi-structured interview. User experience could be summarized into four themes as follows: 1) experience and feeling after using the virtual reality rehabilitation management platform; 2) factors influencing the use of the virtual reality rehabilitation management platform; 3) willingness to recommend the virtual reality rehabilitation management platform to peers; and 4) suggestions to improve the virtual reality rehabilitation management platform.


Breast cancer patients who used the rehabilitation management platform had a good experience, and their recognition and satisfaction were high. The use of the platform is influenced by many factors, and most patients are willing to recommend this platform to their peers. Future studies should be conducted according to patients’ feedback and suggestions on how to further optimize and improve the platform.

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Fig. 1

Data availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are included within the article, and all data included in this study are available upon request by contact with the corresponding authors.

Code availability

The code for the study on the github opensource site for easy access:



Virtual reality


Human-computer interaction


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We would like to thank the medical workers and all the researchers involved in the study.


This work was supported by the funds of the Bethune Project of Jilin University [2020B38];

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Authors and Affiliations



All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Determining the interview outline was performed by Xin Peng, Zijun Zhou and He Wang. Material preparation, interview, data collection and analysis were performed by Ze Luan, Shiyuan Du, Nan Wu and Yulu Chen. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Jiaxin Li and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xin Peng.

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Ethics approval

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the College of Nursing, Jilin University (Ethics approval number: 2020091805). The study is reported in compliance with the Consolidated criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ).

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual respondents included in the study.

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The manuscript contains any individual person’s data in any form (including individual details, images, or videos); consent for publication was obtained from that person.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Zhou, Z., Li, J., Wang, H. et al. Experience of using a virtual reality rehabilitation management platform for breast cancer patients: a qualitative study. Support Care Cancer 31, 307 (2023).

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