Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 173--175

Symptoms in Bangladeshi patients with incurable cancers: Implications for interventions

1 Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA; Amader Gram Cancer Care and Research Center, Rampal, Bagerhat, Bangladesh
2 Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA
3 Amader Gram Cancer Care and Research Center, Rampal, Bagerhat, Bangladesh
4 Department of Oncology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Richard R Love
2708 Columbia Road, Madison, WI 53705, USA

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_203_17

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Aims: The poor state of palliative care in low- and middle-income countries has been termed a global crisis by the Lancet Commission on Palliative Care. The investigators previously reported on a cross-sectional study of symptoms in 640 Bangladeshi adults with incurable cancers. Usual levels of pain were high. The not-reported details of pain and other symptoms offered an opportunity to consider explanations and implications for interventions to lessen these symptoms. Methods: At one visit, 640 Bangladeshi patients completed a symptom questionnaire. The distributions of 12 symptom level scores and the correlations between pain and different symptom scores were determined. Results: The population had significantly high and functionally compromising average usual pain scores, but low percentages of patients with very high and low pain scores. The distributions of scores for multiple symptoms were all skewed to higher mid-scale levels and modestly high (≥0.6) correlations of pain with nausea, anxiety, lack of appetite, constipation, and sleep quality were seen. Conclusions: While the types and direct effects of the cancers, the young age distribution, and the true symptomatic status of this Bangladeshi population studied may explain the described characteristics, the observations deserve exploration of other causes with specific therapeutic implications. These patients appear to have been partially treated for pain, and in particular, environmental factors such as extreme heat and its consequences appear more likely causes of moderate levels of multiple symptoms, which collectively magnified patients' suffering. Greater attention to gastrointestinal symptoms and sleep disturbance, in particular, seems indicated.


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Online since 1st October '05
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow