Cancer patients experience a variety of concurrent symptoms during their chemotherapy. These symptoms can be physical or psychological and may vary in terms of occurrence, severity and distress. The aim of the present study was to assess the existence of symptoms during chemotherapy.
This was a non-experimental and descriptive study. It was conducted in a large hospital in a major Northern Greek city. The subjects were 200 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in cycle 2 and cycle 3. Data was collected using the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS) and questionnaire with demographic and clinical characteristics.
The majority of patients was male (61%) with mean age 58.9 (S.D. 9). 79.5% was married 47.5% had completed compulsory education. Moreover, 48% suffered from lung cancer, 42% colorectal cancer, 7.5% pancreatic cancer and 2.5% stomach cancer. In the 2nd cycle of chemotherapy the mean of Global Distress Index (GDI) was 2.20, Physical Symptom Subscale (MSAS PHYS) was 2.38, Psychological Symptom Subscale (MSAS-PSYCH) was 2.26 and Total MSAS score (TMSAS) was 2.26. Also, in the 3rd cycle of chemotherapy the mean of GDI was 2.20, MSAS PHYS was 2.43, MSAS-PSYCH was 2.17 and TMSAS was 2.27. The following symptoms presented increase between 2nd and 3rd cycle of chemotherapy: feeling nervous, nausea, feeling drowsy, and problems with urination, vomiting, diarrhea, problems with sexual interest or activity, mouth sores, weight loss. The symptoms with the highest mean in 2nd and 3rd cycle of chemotherapy were numbness/tingling in hands/feet and feeling drowsy.
The results of this study demonstrate that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience various symptoms. Therefore, nurses should take into account these findings and plan appropriate, suitable care plans and interventions in order to alleviate them and improve patients’ quality of life.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Alexander Technological Educational Institute - Research Laboratory " Care in Adult Cancer Patients"
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.