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Symptom Clusters in Patients With Pancreatic Cancer Undergoing Surgical Resection: Part I

Sherry A. Burrell
Theresa P. Yeo
Suzanne C. Smeltzer
Benjamin E. Leiby
Harish Lavu
Eugene P. Kennedy
Charles J. Yeo
ONF 2018, 45(4), E36-E52 DOI: 10.1188/18.ONF.E36-E52

Objectives: To describe patient-reported symptoms and symptom clusters in patients with pancreatic cancer (PC) undergoing surgical resection.

Sample & Setting: 143 patients with stage II PC undergoing surgical resection alone or with subsequent adjuvant chemoradiation or chemotherapy were recruited to participate in a nested, longitudinal, exploratory study through convenience sampling techniques from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center.

Methods & Variables: The Functional Assessment in Cancer Therapy–Hepatobiliary questionnaire was used to assess 17 PC symptoms preoperatively and at three, six, and nine months postoperatively. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to identify symptom clusters.

Results: Fatigue, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, trouble digesting food, and weight loss were consistently reported as the most prevalent and severe symptoms. Sixteen distinct symptom clusters were identified within nine months of surgery. Four core symptom clusters persisted over time: affective, gastrointestinal, gustatory, and discomfort.

Implications for Nursing: Findings may be used to provide anticipatory patient and family guidance and to inform clinical assessments of symptoms and symptom clusters in this population.

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