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Cancer Nurs. 2013 Jan-Feb;36(1):60-71. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e318250da1a.

A pilot exploration of symptom trajectories in adolescents with cancer during chemotherapy.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems, Richmond, VA 23219, USA. swameringer@vcu.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Chemotherapy is frequently administered in repetitive cycles. Adolescents with cancer have multiple symptoms related to chemotherapy, but knowledge of symptom trajectories across a cycle is limited. Examining trajectories over a cycle may reveal key periods to manage symptoms.

OBJECTIVES:

The aims of this pilot were to describe the trajectory of symptoms (pain, sleep, appetite, nausea, fatigue) and biological and behavioral variables (anxiety, stress, hematologic function) across 1 cycle and examine relationships between variables.

METHODS:

Nine adolescents with cancer within 6 months of diagnosis participated. Data were collected by surveys, chart review, and biologic measures on days 1 and 2 of the cycle, 1 week later (nadir), and day 1 of the following cycle. To evaluate the trajectory, a simple random-effects repeated-measures analysis was computed.

RESULTS:

The significant trajectories were fatigue (P = .003), difficulty sleeping (P = .032), and nausea (P = .04). Most of the adolescents reported some anticipatory anxiety about receiving chemotherapy. Significant correlations between symptoms and biobehavioral variables included anticipatory anxiety and nausea (r = .86, P = .003), trait anxiety and fatigue (r = -0.82, P < .001), and stress and pain (r = 0.78, P = .039).

CONCLUSIONS:

Multiple symptoms were experienced across the cycle. Three symptoms displayed significant trajectories indicating that patterns of symptoms may be anticipated.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

Pilot findings suggest that monitoring symptoms, stress, and anxiety across a cycle is important, not only during chemotherapy administration, but also prior to being admitted for chemotherapy.

PMID:
22561919
PMCID:
PMC3416951
DOI:
10.1097/NCC.0b013e318250da1a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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