While the use of chemotherapy has significantly improved survival rates, the symptoms associated with chemotherapy remain a major burden for patients. Preventing or appropriately managing side effects significantly improves patients' functional status and quality of life, ultimately leading to greater patient acceptance of chemotherapy. However, symptom assessment and management are fraught with difficulties such as poor patient recall, retrospective assessment conducted by clinicians and lack of appropriate, clinically relevant and patient friendly symptom assessment and management tools. Furthermore the differences between clinician and patient perceptions of stresses and distress during chemotherapy are well recognised. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of a nursing intervention incorporating structured symptom assessment and management, facilitated by information technology, on chemotherapy-related symptoms, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and mucositis. This pan-European study, involved 8 clinical sites from Belgium, Denmark, England, Ireland and Scotland. Adults (n=249) receiving first line chemotherapy for breast, lung, ovarian or colorectal cancer, osteosarcoma, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) or lymphoma were recruited to the study. Patients completed daily symptom assessment questionnaires for 14 days following consecutive cycles of chemotherapy. Symptom outcomes were compared before and after the introduction of the intervention with positive impact on patients' experiences of nausea, vomiting and oral problems. Fatigue was not significantly improved.
- Symptom management