Symptom assessment in patients with advanced cancer: are the most severe symptoms the most bothersome?

Li, Brian, Mah, Kenneth, Swami, Nadia, Pope, Ashley, Hannon, Breffni, Lo, Christopher, Rodin, Gary, Le, Lisa W., and Zimmermann, Camillia (2018) Symptom assessment in patients with advanced cancer: are the most severe symptoms the most bothersome? Journal of Palliative Medicine, 22 (10). pp. 1252-1259.

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Objective: We investigated correspondence between symptom severity and symptom bothersomeness in patients with advanced cancer.

Background: Symptom severity is commonly assessed in clinical cancer settings, but bothersomeness of these symptoms is less often measured.

Methods: Participants with advanced cancer enrolled in a cluster-randomized trial of early palliative care completed the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) and the quality of life at the end of life (QUAL-E) measure as part of their baseline assessment. For each symptom, we examined the correspondence between the symptom being indicated as most severe on the ESAS and rated as most bothersome on the QUAL-E.

Results: For the 386 patients who completed relevant sections of the ESAS and QUAL-E, tiredness (32.8%), sleep (23.8%), and appetite (20.2%) were most frequently rated as most severe, whereas pain (28.9%) and tiredness (24.3%) were most frequently indicated as most bothersome. The most bothersome and most severe symptom corresponded in 42%. Pain and/or tiredness were consistently among the top three most bothersome symptoms, whereas appetite was frequently rated the most severe symptom but was rarely perceived as the most bothersome. The probability that patients rating a symptom as most severe would also rate it as most bothersome was highest for pain (66%), nausea (58%), and tiredness (40%).

Discussion: ESAS symptom severity does not necessarily indicate patients' most bothersome symptom; regardless of severity, pain and tiredness are most frequently perceived as most bothersome. Further research should investigate the clinical benefits of patients also indicating their three most bothersome ESAS symptoms.

Item ID: 69202
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1557-7740
Copyright Information: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 23:20
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200202 Evaluation of health outcomes @ 100%
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