Cancer Patients’ Secondary Symptoms Need Attention: Study

By Dr. Matthew Watson

(HealthDay News) -- Many cancer patients with pain or depression also experience physical symptoms, such as fatigue, dry mouth and nausea, that can cause disability, a new study shows.

Doctors need to recognize and treat these symptoms in order to improve quality of life for cancer patients, said Dr. Kurt Kroenke, of the Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indiana University, and Regenstrief Institute Inc. in Indianapolis, and colleagues.

They analyzed data from 405 cancer patients who had either pain or depression and found that all the patients had at least one of 22 physical symptoms examined in the study. More than half of patients reported 15 of the 22 symptoms.

The most common symptoms were fatigue (97.5 percent), difficulty sleeping (about 79 percent), pain in limbs or joints (78 percent), back pain (nearly 75 percent) and memory problems (72 percent).

The patients also reported an average of almost 17 disability days in the previous four weeks, including 5.7 days in bed and 11.2 days where they reduced their activity by 50 percent or more. Read more...

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