Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 397--401

Cluster analysis of symptoms of Bangladeshi women with breast cancer

Department of Palliative Medicine, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Farzana Khan
House 28, Road 7/C, Sector 9, Uttara, Dhaka 1230
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_77_18

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Background: Breast cancer (BC) patients may experience multiple symptoms due to the disease itself, cancer treatment or combination of both. Aim: The aim of the present study was to express multiple symptoms experienced by the patients with BC as clusters. Methods: This was a retrospective study. We examined symptom profiles of 120 patients with BC who attended the Centre for Palliative Care, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from January 2009 to December 2013. We included all case sheets of BC patients, which had documentation of needed information. Following symptoms were analyzed: pain, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, weakness, cough, breathlessness, sleeplessness, lymphedema, sadness, anxiety, and depression. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to identify the natural groupings within the set. Results: We could identify three clusters, namely (1) “neuropsychiatric,” (2) “gastro-respiratory,” and (3) “miscellaneous” symptom clusters. The symptoms in cluster 2 comprised of cough, breathlessness, nausea, and constipation. Cluster 1 was characterized by pain, depression, anxiety, weakness, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite. Cluster 2 was comprised of cough, breathlessness, nausea, and constipation. Cluster 3 consisted of two symptoms lymphedema and sadness. The results revealed that the multiple symptoms of patients with BC experienced had been clustered together. Neuropsychiatric symptoms and weakness formed a significant strong relationship with each other. Conclusion: Knowledge obtained from this study could be beneficial for better understanding, assessment, and management of symptom clusters in women with BC. It may also help patients to plan ahead for them to seek management of concurrent symptoms to improve their quality of life.


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