Year : 2007 | Volume
: 32 | Issue : 1 | Page : 69--70
A study of expectations of cancer patients regarding treatment related side effects in Bhopal
SC Tiwari, S Nandeshwar, V Agrawal, A Dusad, M Gupta
Dept. of Community Medicine, Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal (MP), India
S C Tiwari
Dept. of Community Medicine, Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal (MP)
|How to cite this article:|
Tiwari S C, Nandeshwar S, Agrawal V, Dusad A, Gupta M. A study of expectations of cancer patients regarding treatment related side effects in Bhopal.Indian J Community Med 2007;32:69-70
|How to cite this URL:|
Tiwari S C, Nandeshwar S, Agrawal V, Dusad A, Gupta M. A study of expectations of cancer patients regarding treatment related side effects in Bhopal. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2007 [cited 2020 Feb 23 ];32:69-70
Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2007/32/1/69/53410
Patient's expectancy is important because of its predictive and perhaps causal association with the development of actual side effects generated by chemotherapy and radiotherapy  Expectations of cancer patients can contribute to the development of a treatment related side effects according to schema theory  which depicts that information (e.g. sensory data) will be interpreted through relevant schema, meaning that an individual who expects a symptom (e.g. nausea) will be more likely to interpret and define sensations associated with cancer treatment as nausea than an individual who does not expect the side effects. The present study was carried out to characterize what side effects patient expects regarding cancer treatment and to describe how patient's characteristics affect these expectations.
Material and Methods
The present descriptive study was carried out from October 2004 to April 2005. The sample comprised of 160 newly diagnosed cancer patients who were planning to undergo either chemotherapy (CT) or radiotherapy (RT). Ninety patients were from Kamala Nehru Hospital, Bhopal and 70 were from Jawaharlal Nehru Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Bhopal. Sample was taken randomly (every third patients) from the list of OPD patients who had not initiated the therapy. After obtaining informed consent, patients were counselled about the treatment option and the disease. All the information regarding demographic data, type of cancer, and type of treatment option e.g. radiotherapy (RT), chemotherapy (CT) or radio-chemotherapy (RT+CT) were obtained in a questionnaire prepared by radiologists and oncologists from Kamala Nehru Hospital Bhopal. Side effects queried were the most common side effects usually experienced by cancer patients during the treatment, i.e. hair loss, vomiting, weight loss, pain, fatigue, sleep problems, depression, burning micturition and mouth ulcer. Each patient was interviewed prior to initiation of the therapy to assess the current symptoms due to cancer itself and expected symptoms regarding treatment related side effects. Patient's response was recorded as "YES" if they certainly expected the side effect to be developed and "NO" if they certainly did not expect the side effects.
[Table 1] depicts that out of 160 patients, 47.5% were females and 52.5% were males. 31.25% were illiterate and 52.5% were educated below graduation whereas only 16.25% were graduates. Study sample was mainly dominated by breast cancer patients (22.5%).
Females expected significantly higher number of side effects than males. Mean number of side effects is higher among educated than illiterates in all categories. In 60 yrs. With reference to gender, fatigue was expected by highest number of patients in both sexes, 92% illiterate patients expected fatigue. However, expectation of graduates was more towards weight loss (100%) and pain (92.2%). Fatigue was expected by all the patients with cancer of head and neck (100%). However, none of the bone cancer patients expected weight loss.
The predominant observation of this study was the high number of side effects expected by patients before the initiation of therapy, though there was a slight difference in the number of side effects expected by patients based on the different characteristics of the patients. In the present study female and younger patients expected significantly higher number of side effects than male and older patients and this is supported by the study of Morrow (2003) who found similar results  .
Mean number of expected side effects was increased with the level of education in both 60 yrs. age group. Similarly Hofman et al (2004) found that non high school patients expected fewer numbers of side effects than their more educated counter part  .
A number of studies have shown that fatigue is the most common side effect experienced by cancer patients and it is worth noting that in the present study also most of the patients expected that they will develop fatigue as a side effect if they receive the cancer treatment  .
From the present study it can be concluded that most of the cancer patients expect high number of side effects related to cancer treatment. In addition, patient's age, gender, education and type of cancer has clear influence on patient's expectations regarding treatment related side effects. Proper counseling, education and information regarding treatment options and its side effects are essential to reduce these expectations. Further exploration of any fear should also be identified and alleviated to prevent these expectations for the earlier and effective management of cancer treatment.
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