Symptoms in the cancer patient - Of importance for their caregivers’ quality of life and mental health?


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European Journal of Oncology Nursing;



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Purpose: To examine the level of symptom burden in a sample of cancer patients in a curative and palliative phase, In addition, to determine a) whether the patients’ symptom burden and patients’ demographic variables, and b) the and caregivers’ demographic variables’ impact on the caregivers’ quality of life and mental health. Method: This descriptive, cross-sectional study combines data from two samples. The first group consists of caregivers of hospitalized patients with cancer in the late palliative phase and the second group is caregivers of outpatients with cancer who have pain and/or use of analgesics. Results: The main result showed that the symptom burden was close to equal when we compared the cancer patients in the palliative and the curative phase respectively. The whole sample of patients seemed extremely tired because they score high on items capturing fatigue or weakness. They also had problems with pain and constipation. For patients having trouble sleeping, the caregivers’ reported high level of depression, whilst caregivers’ gender had impact on the caregivers’ anxiety. The younger the patients the more impact on caregivers’ QOL mental health. Conclusion: In this study no significant differences were revealed when comparing symptom burden among cancer patients in different stages of the disease. Caregivers reported more depression when patients had trouble sleeping and more declined mental quality of life the younger the patients’ age. Female caregivers reported more anxiety than male caregivers



NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in European Journal of Oncology Nursing. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 17(1), 46-51,

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