Ongoing Symptoms Reported by Breast Cancer Survivors: Palliative Implications

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Abstract

The focus of this article is to provide information for palliative care nurses to use in their practice. The underlying study explored ongoing symptoms in breast cancer survivors. The design was a cross-sectional electronic survey. The survey included the Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist (TRSC), Daily Activities Rating Scale, Health-Related Quality of Life–Linear Analog Self-assessment, and a Subject Characteristics and Health Form. Data were analyzed by Fisher exact test and regression, as well as descriptive analyses. The main research variables were symptom occurrence and severity, daily activities, health-related quality of life, age, education, treatment type, and time since treatment completion. The findings of the study included the following: time following the treatment’s completion did not affect TRSC scores; high total scores on the TRSC related to high scores on the Daily Activities Rating Scale and to low scores on the Health-Related Quality of Life–Linear Analog Self-assessment. The odds of a low TRSC score increased with both a higher education level and increased age; however, the odds score diminished if treatment included chemotherapy. Skilled palliative nurses should be aware of the occurrence and severity of ongoing symptoms among breast cancer survivors in order to improve patient screening and tailor interventions for palliation of those symptoms.

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