Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/115426
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Type: Journal article
Title: The timeliness of patients reporting the side effects of chemotherapy
Author: Olver, I.
Carey, M.
Boyes, A.
Hall, A.
Noble, N.
Bryant, J.
Walsh, J.
Sanson-Fisher, R.
Citation: Supportive Care in Cancer, 2018; 26(10):3579-3586
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0941-4355
1433-7339
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Ian Olver, Mariko Carey, Allison Boyes, Alix Hall, Natasha Noble, Jamie Bryant, Justin Walsh, Rob Sanson-Fisher
Abstract: PURPOSE:To explore the actions cancer patients reported they would take in response to a range of common side effects of chemotherapy and whether these were considered appropriate based on current guidelines and evidence; and to explore the sociodemographic and cancer-related variables associated with patients selecting the appropriate action (immediate medical attention or reporting) for two potentially life-threatening side effects: fever, and unusual bleeding and bruising. METHODS:Four hundred thirty-six medical oncology and haematology patients receiving chemotherapy completed two surveys to provide demographic, disease and treatment characteristics, and details on how they would respond if they experienced a range of specified side effects of chemotherapy (for example, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and skin rash or nail changes). The proportion of patients reporting the appropriate action for each side effect was calculated. Multiple logistic regressions examined the patient demographic and cancer characteristics associated with selecting the appropriate action (seeking immediate medical attention) for two potentially life-threatening side effects of chemotherapy: high fever of 38 °C or more, and unusual bleeding or bruising. RESULTS:Two thirds of patients indicated that they would seek immediate medical attention for high fever (67%), but only 41% would seek immediate attention for bleeding or bruising. Cancer type and time since diagnosis were significantly associated with patients indicating that they would seek immediate medical attention for high fever; while time since diagnosis was the only variable significantly associated with patients reporting that they would seek immediate medical attention for unusual bleeding or bruising. For chronic side effects, like skin rash or nail changes, and tingling or numbness, which usually do not require urgent reporting, only between 12 and 16% would report them immediately. A significant proportion of patients reported that they would "do nothing" about fatigue or tiredness (24%). By comparison, less than 10% patients reported that they would do nothing for the other side effects investigated. CONCLUSIONS:Tools need to be created so that patients better understand the side effects after being treated with chemotherapy and what action they should take.
Keywords: Chemotherapy; side effects; timelines; self-reporting; quality of life
Description: Published online: 3 May 2018
Rights: © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
DOI: 10.1007/s00520-018-4225-y
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1010536
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1073031
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1073317
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