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Symptom Burden Clusters: A Challenge for Targeted Symptom Management. A Longitudinal Study Examining Symptom Burden Clusters in Breast Cancer
Research and Development Centre, Skaraborg Hospital, Skövde, Sweden / Institute of Health and Caring Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden / Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA / Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9559-0952
Högskolan i Skövde, Institutionen för hälsa och lärande.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0976-531X
Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, ISSN 0885-3924, E-ISSN 1873-6513, Vol. 47, no 4, p. 731-741Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context: Although there has been a growing interest in cancer symptom clusters, less is known about symptom burden clusters.

Objectives: To explore clusters of burdensome symptoms over time, the impact on health status and quality of life, and coping capacity in patients with breast cancer.

Methods: In this longitudinal study, a sample of 206 patients completed the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, and the Sense of Coherence scale, at diagnosis of primary or recurrent breast cancer, and at one-, three-, and six-month follow-ups.

Results: Three clusters of burdensome symptoms were identified: emotional symptom burden, gastrointestinal symptom burden, and unwellness symptom burden. Most burdensome were emotional symptoms, with worrying, feeling sad, and feeling nervous as the core or defining symptoms. Over time, additional symptoms escalated the emotional symptom burden. The gastrointestinal symptom burden, with "change in the way food tastes" as a core symptom, was more often associated with chemotherapy. Less stable over time, the unwellness symptom burden could be interpreted as short- and long-term side effects of hormonal therapy. Of these clusters, only the emotional symptom burden cluster significantly diminished health status and quality of life. Patients reporting lower coping capacity experienced higher levels of symptom burden.

Conclusion: This study provides insights into symptom burden clusters over time. A challenging approach toward symptom management in clinical oncology is to target the burden of a symptom cluster and to recognize the need for individually designed interventions to ameliorate symptom burden in cancer patients. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014. Vol. 47, no 4, p. 731-741
Keywords [en]
Breast cancer, health status, quality of life, sense of coherence, symptom burden, symptom burden clusters
National Category
Health Sciences
Research subject
Medical sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-39242DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2013.05.012ISI: 000334588100012PubMedID: 23916827Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84898835050OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-39242DiVA, id: diva2:1201699
Available from: 2013-11-04 Created: 2018-04-26Bibliographically approved

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Kenne Sarenmalm, ElisabethBrowall, Maria
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