Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 476--478

Symptoms in nepali patients with incurable cancers: Implications for interventions


1 Department of Computer Science, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA
2 Department of Medical Oncology, The National Academy of Medical Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal

Correspondence Address:
Richard R Love
Department of Computer Science, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_221_19

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Aim: The poor quality and limited extent of palliative care services are of concern across the globe. To identify and measure patients' symptoms in Nepal, using a cell phone questionnaire platform, the investigators conducted and previously reported a cross-sectional study of Nepali adults. The unreported details of pain and other symptoms in these study data are here considered together with possible explanations and implications for interventions to lessen these symptoms. Methods: In a “snapshot ”cross-sectional study of patients under regular care in three tertiary care Nepalese centers, we questioned 383 patients with incurable cancers using a 15-item cell phone-validated instrument to describe their major current symptoms and their intensities. The distributions of 11 symptom-level scores and the correlations between pain and different symptom scores were determined. Results: Thirty-eight percent of the population (142/383) had maximal pain scores which were in the severe range, and 25% (97/383) had such scores where they were evaluated. Patients reported moderate-to-severe tiredness 48% (183/383), depression 45% (172/383), anxiety 56% (217/383), poor appetite 64% (246/383), sleep quantity 64% (246/383), and sleep quality 64% (247/383). Conclusions: The significant fractions of patients with severe maximal and at-evaluation pain scores suggest that inadequate recognition and treatment of such symptoms characterized care of these regularly seen patients. The high fractions of patients with mood and sleep disturbances support this reading, suggesting helplessness and hopelessness, all addressable with psychosocial, environmental, and nontoxic, inexpensive pharmacological interventions.






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