Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 326--330

Why newly diagnosed cancer patients require supportive care? An audit from a regional cancer center in India


Department of Radiotherapy, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Raviteja Miriyala
Department of Radiotherapy, PGIMER, Chandigarh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.185049

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Purpose: The present study was planned to record the distressing symptoms of newly diagnosed cancer patients and evaluate how the symptoms were addressed by the treating oncologists. Materials and Methods : All newly diagnosed cancer patients referred to the Department of Radiotherapy during May 2014 were asked to complete a questionnaire after taking their consent. The Edmonton symptom assessment scale-regular questionnaire was used to assess the frequency and intensity of distressing symptoms. The case records of these patients were then reviewed to compare the frequency and intensity documented by the treating physician. The difference in the two sets of symptoms documented was statistically analyzed by nonparametric tests using SPSS software version 16. Results: Eighty-nine patients participated in this study, of which only 19 could fill the questionnaire on their own. Anxiety was the most common symptom (97.8%) followed by depression (89.9%), tiredness (89.9%), and pain (86.5%). The treating physicians recorded pain in 83.1% whereas the other symptoms were either not documented or grossly underreported. Anxiety was documented in 3/87 patients, but depression was not documented in any. Tiredness was documented in 12/80 patients, and loss of appetite in 54/77 patients mentioning them in the questionnaire. Significant statistical correlation could be seen between the presence of pain, anxiety, depression, tiredness, and loss of appetite in the patients. Conclusion: The study reveals that the distressing symptoms experienced by newly diagnosed cancer patients are grossly underreported and inadequately addressed by treating oncologists. Sensitizing the oncologists and incorporating palliative care principles early in the management of cancer patients could improve their holistic care.






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