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Eur J Cancer. 1993;29A(6):866-70.

Prevalence of anticipatory nausea and other side-effects in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.


98 patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer were interviewed to determine the prevalence of anticipatory nausea and vomiting, anxiety and dietary changes. Among those who had received at least four treatments 41% reported at least mild anticipatory nausea (AN). For 24% this was a moderate to severe problem, which was significantly associated with a high level of anxiety about treatment. Prevalence at this level was independent of whether the subject was receiving treatment as an in- or an outpatient. Anticipatory vomiting (AV) was reported by only 12 patients, of whom 11 were women; this was the only effect of gender found in the sample. Independence between moderate AN and AV was also suggested by a difference in type of event triggering the effect: predominantly odours for AN and thoughts of the treatment for AV. Changes in diet after commencing chemotherapy were reported by 50% of patients who had received at least four treatments. These most commonly took the form of aversions to meat and then to coffee, and were attributed most frequently to changes in taste and then to loss of appetite.

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