Symptom clusters in cancer patients with brain metastases.
ABSTRACT To explore the presence of symptom clusters in patients with brain metastases.
Patients with brain metastases referred to an outpatient palliative radiotherapy clinic were asked to rate their symptom distress using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS). Baseline demographic data were obtained. To determine interrelationships between symptoms, a principal component analysis with 'varimax rotation' was carried out on the nine ESAS items. Follow-up was carried out by telephone 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks after radiation.
Between January 1999 and January 2002, 170 patients with brain metastases provided complete baseline data on the ESAS. The most common primary cancer sites were lung, breast and gastrointestinal. Fatigue was the highest scored symptom, followed by a poor sense of well-being, anxiety, drowsiness and poor appetite. The four most prevalent symptoms were fatigue (91.7%), a poor sense of well-being (88.1%), drowsiness (82.2%) and anxiety (82.1%). Three symptom clusters were found at baseline. Cluster 1 included fatigue, drowsiness, shortness of breath and pain. Cluster 2 included anxiety and depression. Cluster 3 included poor appetite, nausea and a poor sense of well-being. Fatigue, nausea, drowsiness and poor appetite showed an overall increase in symptom severity over time; whereas fatigue, drowsiness and poor appetite were experienced to some extent by a greater proportion of patients at week 12 compared with baseline. Symptom clusters emerged in all weeks of follow-up, but consisted of different symptoms in each week.
Symptom clusters seemed to exist in patients with brain metastases before and after whole brain radiotherapy. However, different symptoms clustered at various time points. The effectiveness of whole brain radiotherapy in providing palliative relief to patients with brain metastases needs to be explored with regards to symptom clusters.
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ABSTRACT: To investigate the clinical characteristics of patients with brain metastases as the initial manifestation of their systemic cancer in a Chinese population, a retrospective study of 254 such patients admitted to Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China between January 1, 2003 and December 30, 2008 was performed. Data were collected to determine the features of this group (i.e., manifesting signs and symptoms, imaging studies, extracerebral metastases, primary tumor sites, initial diagnosis, and survival data). Common symptoms included headache and motor impairment. The distribution of brain metastases paralleled blood flow, and the majority of brain metastases were located in the cerebral hemispheres. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was more sensitive than computed tomography (CT) for confirming presence of brain lesions. This distinct clinical entity exhibited high rates of misdiagnosis at initial presentation. Pathology varied, and adenocarcinomas were most commonly observed. Underlying primary tumors were identified in 84.2% of patients, most often located in lung (71.7%), followed by digestive tract. Chest CT had high yield. Sixty-two patients presented with silent extracerebral metastases at initial presentation. Median survival time was 15 months (95% confidence interval, 12.2-17.8 months). Survival rates for 1, 2, and 5 years were 59.2%, 23.2%, and 15.1%, respectively. Contrast-enhanced MRI had high yield for detection of brain metastases. Adenocarcinoma was the most common histologic type. Given the high frequency of primary lung tumors and the sensitivity of chest CT, chest CT should be a part of the initial screen of primary site with brain metastases as the initial manifestation. Metastatic dissemination of malignancy to the brain as the initial manifestation is generally associated with dismal prognosis, with the exception of a minority who experience long survival.Journal of Neuro-Oncology 10/2010; 103(3):649-55. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Many risk factors exist for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). This study utilized a multivariate projection technique to identify which risk factors were predictive of CINV in clinical practice. A single-centre, prospective, observational study was conducted from January 2007~July 2010 in Singapore. Patients were on highly (HECs) and moderately emetogenic chemotherapies with/without radiotherapy. Patient demographics and CINV risk factors were documented. Daily recording of CINV events was done using a standardized diary. Principal component (PC) analysis was performed to identify which risk factors could differentiate patients with and without CINV. A total of 710 patients were recruited. Majority were females (67%) and Chinese (84%). Five risk factors were potential CINV predictors: histories of alcohol drinking, chemotherapy-induced nausea, chemotherapy-induced vomiting, fatigue and gender. Period (ex-/current drinkers) and frequency of drinking (social/chronic drinkers) differentiated the CINV endpoints in patients on HECs and anthracycline-based, and XELOX regimens, respectively. Fatigue interference and severity were predictive of CINV in anthracycline-based populations, while the former was predictive in HEC and XELOX populations. PC analysis is a potential technique in analyzing clinical population data, and can provide clinicians with an insight as to what predictors to look out for in the clinical assessment of CINV. We hope that our results will increase the awareness among clinician-scientists regarding the usefulness of this technique in the analysis of clinical data, so that appropriate preventive measures can be taken to improve patients' quality of life.Toxicological research. 06/2012; 28(2):81-91.
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ABSTRACT: Sleep is an essential biologic and physiologic process that is vital for maintaining or achieving optimal health outcomes. Care requirements in hospitalized patients frequently result in nocturnal disruptions that impact sleep quality. This exploratory, retrospective study aimed to identify and quantify nocturnal care disruptions in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. A total of 1,642 nocturnal care interactions occurred during 160 patient nights of data collection. An average of 41 nocturnal care interactions occurred per patient. Most occurred from 12-12:59 am and 4-4:59 am. Most patients (73%) had sleep disturbance recorded in their chart by nurses, but physicians documented sleep disturbances for only 28% of patients. Care practices may be modifiable to promote sleep in the hospital setting.Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing 10/2013; 17(5):517-523.