Problem Identification: Patients with gastric cancer experience multiple disease- and treatment-related symptoms. The purpose of this review was to describe the common and co-occurring symptoms experienced by patients with gastric cancer.
Literature Search: Search terms, such as gastric cancer, symptoms, and experience, were used to search PubMed®, CINAHL®, and PsycINFO® for empirical papers published from January 1990 to July 2019.
Data Evaluation: The search yielded 1,259 articles; 25 studies (21 observational and 4 interventional) were included in this review. Each study was systematically evaluated.
Synthesis: The most common symptoms were categorized into physical and affective/cognitive domains. Three to 17 (median = 7) symptoms occurred concurrently. The severity of most symptoms was reported as mild to moderate. However, patients experienced varying levels of symptom severity following treatment trajectories. Older age, female gender, advanced cancer stage, low socioeconomic status, and total gastrectomy were associated with a greater number and severity of symptoms.
Implications for Practice: Future research of symptom clusters may clarify the phenotypes and relationship between multiple co-occurring symptoms in patients with gastric cancer to develop targeted interventions that support symptom self-management for this population.