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Expectation and perception of chemotherapy side effects differ between breast and ovarian cancer patients, age at diagnosis and the individual need for psycho-oncological support
20 September 2018 (online)
We aimed to evaluate patients' perception and misgivings regarding chemotherapy side effects in cancer patients depending on type of cancer (breast (BC)/ovarian (OC)), age at diagnosis, and psycho-oncological distress.
BC and OC patients planned for chemotherapy were recruited in this prospective study. Before start of chemotherapy patients were asked to identify out of 72 cards, displaying potential physical and non-physical CSE, the ten most burdensome and rank them finally to top five by severity. For distress assessment patients filled the Hornheider Screening Instrument (HSI; psycho-oncological need HSI-score34).
141 patients (95 BC, 45 OC) were interviewed. “Feeling of not coping with treatment” and “Affects my family/partner” were the highest ranked CSE among all subgroups. “Loss of hair” was listed among the most five severe CSE with exception of OC patients – here hair loss was not listed among top 15 CSE. Differences among the subgroups were detected for “Difficulty in sleeping” and “Nausea” which were listed as top 5 concerns in pts with OC, age> 50y, and HSI< 4, but not in pts with BC, age< 50y, and HSI34, respectively. Further, “affects my work, home duties” was ranked as major concern in pts with BC, age< 50y, and HSI< 4, but not among pts with OC, age> 50y, and HSI34, respectively.
Top concerns among all patients were psycho-social quality of live problems and fears of not coping with treatment.. Therefore, individual assessment of anticipated CSE and consequent psycho-social/-oncological support should be offered even before starting chemotherapy.