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Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2001 Mar;5(1):18-25.

Evidence-based management of constipation in the oncology patient.

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1
Young Oncology Unit, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester M20 4 BX, UK.

Abstract

Constipation is suffered by over 50% of cancer patients and is regarded as one of the most distressing symptoms causing both physical and emotional distress. A need to treat constipation is often due to a failure to prevent it. There is little literature in this area and research based on clinical trials as to best treatment is virtually non-existent. It is suggested that many health-care professionals dismiss constipation as a relatively trivial problem, resulting in a lack of attention to the subject. There is a lack of consensus on the definition of constipation and confusion regarding effective methods for prevention and treatment. It could be argued that health-care professionals are more intent on monitoring the direct effects rather than the secondary effects of treatment. Since constipation is largely preventable, there is a need to highlight the importance of prevention in addition to establishing effective treatment guidelines. Oncology nurses are in an ideal position to identify cancer patients in a high-risk category and utilize preventive strategies. The study described has led to the development of evidence-based drug guidelines to be used in the prevention of constipation and acute/chronic constipation to ensure that patients receive the best treatment possible.

PMID:
12849044
DOI:
10.1054/ejon.2000.0119

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