CHICAGO, IL— Patients who express pretreatment concern about treatment symptoms such as nausea and memory problems tend to suffer higher symptom burdens during and after anticancer treatment, suggests research presented at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.
Patients with high levels of concern about symptoms before anticancer treatment, and who wanted more information on symptom management before treatment, suffered more from fatigue, pain, nausea, memory and concentration issues, and depression during and after treatment (total symptom score, P < .001), researchers reported.
“Clinicians should consider using these questions as indicators to which patients may require additional symptom management care,” said lead author Luke Joseph Peppone, PhD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, and coauthors. “Asking Patients about their expected symptom burden and information needs before treatment is a quick and easy-to-administer predictor of symptom burden throughout the cancer treatment process.”
A total of 972 participants were scheduled to receive radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy for cancer; they prospectively completed symptom concerns surveys before, during, and 6 months after treatment (n=652 completed surveys at 6 months). During and after treatment, patients reported the severity of 12 symptoms on an 11-point subjective scale: fatigue, hair loss, memory, nausea, depression, sleep, pain, concentration, hot flashes, weight loss, skin problems, and dyspnea.