A literature review of symptom clusters among breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractPurpose of the study: The aim of this review was to depict types of symptom clusters experienced by patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer (BC), in particular, the most common types and their patterns were examined.

Methods: Ten electronic English and Chinese databases were searched from inception through November 2017. “Breast neoplasm” or “breast cancer” combined with 9 synonyms representing “symptom cluster” were used to generate relevant literatures. Hand searching of the article reference list was also adopted. Articles reporting symptom clusters only among BC patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy and utilizing prospective approach were included. Articles drawing conclusions from heterogeneous subjects and validating pre-determined symptom clusters were excluded.

Results and discussions: Finally, 9 articles published between 2012 to 2017 were selected for review. Total number of symptom clusters identified varied from two to five, and the number of symptoms in each cluster ranged from two to nine. 5 longitudinal studies found that patterns of symptom clusters change over time from before to after the treatment. However, during the active treatment period, the three most common types of symptom clusters were gastro-related, psychological-related and physical-related symptom clusters. Studies reported that the most severe/distress symptom experienced by BC patients during treatment was fatigue and followed by sleep disturbance and loss of appetite. Although different types of symptom clusters with variation of symptoms within each cluster were found, fatigue was identified as the most severe/distressful symptom closely correlated to sleep disturbance. Possible reasons for diverse conclusions may be various measurement tools, time points for data collection, analytical approaches and wording preferences adopted by different studies.

Conclusions: This review concluded that BC patients certainly experienced multiple symptom clusters during chemotherapy. Effective interventions for managing the most common types of symptom clusters among BC patients undergoing chemotherapy are warranted.
Acceptance Date13/04/2018
All Author(s) ListXiaole He, Winnie K.W. So.
Name of Conference8th Nursing Symposium on Cancer Care
Start Date of Conference24/05/2018
End Date of Conference25/05/2018
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
Year2018
Month5
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-19-12 at 10:44