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09.06.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2019

Supportive Care in Cancer 1/2019

Couples’ symptom burden in oncology care: perception of self and the other

Zeitschrift:
Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2019
Autoren:
Gabriel Lopez, Kathrin Milbury, Minxing Chen, Yisheng Li, Eduardo Bruera, Lorenzo Cohen
Wichtige Hinweise
This manuscript is not under consideration elsewhere. The study was conducted as part of an IRB approved protocol.

Abstract

Background

The literature suggests that psychological distress and quality of life are interdependent in couples coping with cancer. The current study seeks to extend these findings to physical symptom burden, examining differences in symptom self-rating and perception of partner symptoms.

Methods

Couples were approached while waiting for an integrative oncology service. Fifty patients and their partners completed the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS-FS; twelve symptoms, scores 0–10, 10 worst possible) and a Global Health measure (PROMIS10). Patient and partner each also completed the ESAS-FS as it related to their perception of the other’s symptoms. ESAS distress subscales analyzed included Global (GDS), Psychosocial (PSS), and Physical (PHS). Analyses included paired t tests to examine all measures.

Results

Fifty-eight percent of patients were female with most common cancer diagnoses of breast (22%), gastrointestinal (16%), and thoracic/H&N (16%). For ESAS-FS self-ratings, patients had significantly higher physical distress than partners, with a no significant difference in psychosocial distress. For PROMIS10 self-ratings, patients reported significantly lower global health and physical health, (p’s < 0.001); no differences were found for mental health between patients and caregivers. Patient rating of partner physical distress (PHS, p = 0.01) was significantly higher than partner self-rating, with no significant difference observed in ratings for psychosocial distress. Partner rating of patient psychosocial distress (PSS, p < 0.001) and physical distress (PHS, p = 0.001) was significantly higher than that of patient self-rating.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that both patients and partners perceive physical distress of the other higher than self; however, patients may be more sensitive to psychosocial distress in their partners.

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