African Health Sciences

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Symptom clusters and quality of life in China patients with lung cancer undergoing chemotherapy

Dandan Wang, Jufang Fu


Objective: To explore the symptom clusters and quality of life in patients with lung cancer undergoing chemotherapy. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was completed with 183 patients from three public hospitals in Xi’an, China. Patients completed a demographic questionnaire, the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Lung Cancer (FACT-L) and the M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI-C). Factor analysis was used to identify symptom clusters based on the severity of patients’ symptom experiences. The resulting clusters were correlated with quality-of-life measures. Results: The QOL scores of lung cancer patients on the functioning subscale were the lowest (9.70±5.30), while those of the family subscale were the highest (19.28±3.24). Three symptom clusters were identified: gastrointestinal, emotional and fatigue–related symptoms. There was a negative relationship between the symptom clusters and multiple dimensions of quality of life (r -0.178~-0.805, p< 0. 05). Females, especially those women with low education level /chronic diseases, were experienced greater symptom distress than others. Conclusions: The clusters had a negative relationship with QOL. Identifying symptom clusters helped clarify possible inter-relationships which may lead to the establishment of more effective symptom management interventions for patients with lung cancer in order to improve the quality of life.

Keywords: symptom clusters, lung cancer, factor analysis, symptom management, quality of life

African Health sciences Vol 14 No. 1 March 2014
AJOL African Journals Online