Date of Award

12-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

Advisor(s)

Geri L. Wood, PhD, RN, FAAN, Chair

Second Advisor

Richard Theriault, DO, Member

Third Advisor

Terri Armstrong, PhD, ANP-BC, FAANP, Member

Abstract

Background

Many breast cancer survivors continue to have single or multiple symptoms after they have completed primary cancer therapy. The quantifiable, subjective experience of multiple symptoms and their impact is defined as symptom burden. Previous research has focused on symptoms during primary therapy or shortly after completion of treatment.

Objectives

Our study objectives were to determine whether symptom burden differed according to survivor status (early as opposed to long-term survival) and/or use of endocrine or hormonal adjuvant therapy. We hypothesized that there would be no difference in the symptoms expressed among early- and long-term survivors.

Methods

In this cross-sectional study, data were collected on 133 survivors,using the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory, Karnofsky Performance Status, Charlson Comorbidity Index and a demographic/health history form to assess study variables. Results Patients who were prescribed endocrine or hormonal therapy had higher symptom severity scores than did women who did not receive these therapies.

Results

Patients who were prescribed endocrine or hormonal therapy had higher symptom severity scores than did women who did not receive these therapies. 26 No differences were noted in symptom burden and symptom interference between early- and long-term survivors or whether or not they had taken adjuvant therapy. As functional status increased, the patients' symptoms scores decreased. Comorbidities did not impact the symptom scores.

Conclusions Breast cancer survivors continue to experience symptoms, but symptoms are more severe among those taking hormonal or endocrine therapy. Understanding the relationship between symptoms, cancer therapy, comorbidities, and functional status in early versus late survivorship may improve symptom management and outcomes for breast cancer survivors.

Keywords

Breast cancer, survivor, symptoms, symptom interference, M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI), Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI)

Included in

Nursing Commons

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