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: Context Physical activity has demonstrated benefits for quality of life (QoL) and cancer-related fatigue earlier in the cancer trajectory; however, less is known regarding its role in patients with end-stage cancer. Objectives The primary aim of this study was to examine the association between objectively measured physical activity and QoL in cancer patients with brain metastases. Methods Patients diagnosed with brain metastases, aged 18 years or older, cognitively intact, and with Palliative Performance Scale scores greater than 30%, were recruited from a multidisciplinary brain metastases clinic. A cross-sectional survey interview assessed self-reported QoL (McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire), self-reported physical function (Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument), and symptoms (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System). Participants wore activPAL™ (PAL Technologies, Ltd., Glasgow, UK) accelerometers recording triaxial movement for seven days during palliative whole brain radiotherapy. Results A total of 31 patients were recruited. Median survival was 171 days from time of study consent, with 90% (28 of 31) of deaths by two year follow-up. Participants who stood for 1.6 hours or more per day had better QoL (mean = 1.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.1, 1.9; P = 0.034). Participants who stood for 1.6 hours or more per day had better QoL (mean = 1.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.1 to 1.9; P = 0.034). Participants who sat or were supine for 20.7 hours or more per day had better advanced lower extremity functioning (mean = −6.1; 95% CI = −11.9 to −0.3; P = 0.040) and total functioning (mean = −10.6; 95% CI = −21.1 to −0.04; P = 0.049), but worse depression (mean = 2.1; 95% CI = 0.3 to 3.9; P = 0.028), anxiety (mean = 2.8; 95% CI = 0.7 to 5.0; P = 0.012), and feeling of well-being (mean = 1.9; 95% CI = 0.2 to 3.6; P = 0.028). Conclusion Sedentary behavior appears to be associated with better physical functioning but worse psychosocial functioning in cancer patients with brain metastases.Journal of pain and symptom management 09/2014; · 2.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) is a treatment strategy used commonly to relieve burdensome symptoms and improve quality of life (QOL) in patients with multiple brain metastases. The purpose of this study is to determine changes in fatigue score following WBRT as it is a common symptom experienced in this population. Fatigue and overall QOL scores were collected prospectively in patients for up to 3 months post-WBRT by several questionnaires at different times including the following: Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS), Brain Symptom and Impact Questionnaire (BASIQ), Spitzer Questionnaire, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30), EORTC brain module (EORTC QLQ-BN20 + 2), EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G). Questionnaires were grouped for analysis by Wilcoxon Signed Rank test according to the scale of ranking into 0-10, 1-4, and 0-4. Thirty-six patients were interviewed with the ESAS or BASIQ. The median age was 65 years old, and median Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) was 70. There was a significant increase in fatigue score from baseline to month 1 (p = 0.02), and months 2 and 3 had no significant change. There was a significant correlation between fatigue and overall QOL score at baseline and month 1 (p = 0.01, p < 0.0001), respectively. Two hundred and twenty-eight patients were surveyed with Spitzer, C15-PAL, BN20 + 2, QLQ-C30, or FACT-G. Median age was 64 years old and median KPS was 80. Compared to baseline, fatigue score was significantly higher at month 1 (p < 0.0001) and month 2 (p = 0.001), with no significant change at month 3. Significant correlation was found between fatigue and overall QOL at baseline, months 1, 2 (p < 0.0001), and 3 (p = 0.0009). For all groups, there was no significant change in fatigue score between patients with or without dexamethasone (Dx), except for the fatigue changed score of the group with scale 0-4. Fatigue was significantly increased from baseline to month 1 in all patients, and most patients experienced no difference in fatigue if they were receiving Dx. Increased fatigue was significantly related with decreased overall QOL.Supportive Care in Cancer 02/2014; · 2.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Advanced cancer patients typically experience multiple symptoms, which may influence patient outcomes synergistically. The composition of these symptom clusters (SCs) differs depending on various clinical variables, and the timing and method of their assessment. The objectives of this systematic review were to examine the composition, longitudinal stability, and consistency across methodologies of common SCs, as well as their common predictors and outcomes. A search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, Web of Science and PsycINFO was conducted using variants of symptom clusters, cancer, and palliative care. 33 articles were identified and reviewed. Many SCs were identified, with four common groupings being anxiety-depression, nausea-vomiting, nausea-appetite loss, and fatigue-dyspnea-drowsiness-pain. SCs in most cases were not stable longitudinally. The various statistical methods employed (most commonly principal components analysis, exploratory factor analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis) tended to reveal different SCs. Different measurement tools were employed in different studies, each containing a different array of symptoms. The predictors and outcomes of SCs were also inconsistent across studies. No studies of patient experiences of SCs were identified. Although the articles reviewed revealed four groups of symptoms that tended to cluster, there is limited consistency in the way in which SCs and variables associated with them are identified. This is largely due to lack of agreement about a robust, clinically relevant definition of SCs. Future research should focus on patients' subjective experience of SCs to inform a clinically relevant definition of SCs and how they are managed over time.Journal of pain and symptom management 04/2014; · 2.42 Impact Factor