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Support Care Cancer. 2006 Nov;14(11):1126-33. Epub 2006 Apr 7.

Symptom profiles and palliative care in advanced pancreatic cancer: a prospective study.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Ullevaal University Hospital HF, Oslo, Norway. knutjorgen.labori@ulleval.no

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To describe prospectively the prevalence and severity of disease-related symptoms, quality of life (QOL) and need for palliative care in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Fifty-one patients treated for advanced pancreatic cancer filled in the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) for symptom registration and the EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-PAN26 quality of life questionnaires at first contact (baseline) and the ESAS in the following consultations. Need for palliative interventions were registered.

RESULTS:

Of the 22 women and 29 men (mean age, 62 years), 20 had locally unresectable cancer, 19 had metastatic disease, and 12 had recurrent disease after curative resection. Forty-six patients died during follow-up (median survival, 99 days). At baseline, patients reported significantly impaired QOL on nine of 15 scales/items (p<0.01) relative to the general population. Fatigue, loss of appetite, and impaired sense of well-being were the most troublesome symptoms on the ESAS, measured to 4.4(+/-2.8)/5.3(+/-2.3), 4.4(+/-3.2)/5.9(+/-2.7), and 4.0(+/-2.9)/4.6(+/-2.7) (mean+/-SD) at baseline and 8 weeks before death, respectively. Forty-four of the 51 (86%) initial consultations and 107 (58%) of the 185 follow-ups (124 clinical and 61 phone-calls) resulted in palliative care interventions, most frequently changes in opioid or laxative medication and dietary advice.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer develop several distressing symptoms. ESAS was useful for assessment of symptom prevalence and intensity and is a clinically adequate method for symptom control. A multidisciplinary approach is necessary for the best palliation of symptoms at the time of diagnosis and during follow-up.

PMID:
16601947
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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