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Cancer. 1988 Jan 1;61(1):46-51.

Reducing the negative impact of radiation therapy on functional status.

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  • 1Division of Nursing, University of Rochester Cancer Center, NY 14642.


The effect of an informational intervention that provided objective descriptions, in concrete terms, of the usual experiences during the various phases of radiation therapy was tested in a random clinical trial. The patients had Stage A, B, or C prostatic cancer. Forty-two control patients received the information routinely provided to all patients in the treatment setting. Forty-two experimental patients received, in addition, four informational messages during the course of radiation therapy. The first message described the experience of treatment planning; the second described the experience of receiving a radiation treatment; the third described side effects that usually occur, their onset, their characteristics, and activities to lessen their impact; and the fourth described the usual experiences during the months following radiation treatments. The experimental group of patients, compared with those in the control group, reported significantly less disruption in usual activities during and following radiation therapy. The amount of emotional disturbance was low and did not differ by study group. The results of this study, with respect to the interventions' effect on radiation therapy patients' quality of life, were consistent with prior research in other health care situations.

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