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Cancer Nurs. 2012 Mar-Apr;35(2):115-25. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e31821aedba.

Symptoms in children with advanced cancer: child and nurse reports.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Loma Linda University, California, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Systematic studies on the specific symptom experience in children with advanced cancer are limited.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of the study was to examine the common symptoms and to explore commonly occurring symptoms over time.

METHODS:

A prospective and longitudinal study design was used. Data were collected at 10 data points from 60 children over a 5-month period. Children ranged from 6 to 17 years old, spoke English or Spanish, were diagnosed with advanced cancer, and were receiving healthcare in 1 of 4 Southern California hospitals. Nurses' documentations of symptoms were examined.

RESULTS:

The study sample was composed of children 6 to 12 years old (52%) and 13 to 17 years old (48%); 42% were female, and 58% were male. Fifty-five percent were Latino, and 30% were Caucasian. Pain, nausea, drowsiness, and energy loss were reported by children in more than 50% of the interviews. Children's and nurses' reports of symptoms were similar except children reported significantly more frequency and intensity of pain.

CONCLUSION:

Children with advanced cancer were able to report and describe their symptoms. There were few differences by gender, age, and ethnicity.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

It is important that children's symptoms are clearly communicated to nurses, and these study findings may be used to anticipate and manage the symptoms experienced by children with advanced cancer.

PMID:
21760496
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3199366
Free PMC Article
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