Research and Scholarship
Patients’ Communication Preferences Around Cancer Symptom Reporting During Cancer Treatment: A Phenomenological Study
Sharyn Carrasco, PhD, RN
From Array BioPharma Inc., Cypress, Texas
Author’s disclosure of conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.
Correspondence to: Sharyn Carrasco, PhD, RN, Cypress, Texas. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
J Adv Pract Oncol 2021;12(4):364–372 |
© 2021 Harborside™
Background: The purpose of this descriptive phenomenological study was to gain an in-depth understanding of cancer patients’ experiences and perspectives on self-reporting their symptoms. Patients with cancer experience a wide variety of symptoms from both their disease and treatment, yet clinicians are often unaware of their patients’ symptoms due to poor reporting methods. Poorly documented symptoms are more likely to go untreated, causing increased symptom distress and decreased quality of life for patients. Effective, real-time communication between patients and health-care practitioners is key to symptom assessment and management. Moreover, it is important for patients’ communication preferences to be taken into account when developing symptom management plans. Methods: This qualitative study focused on the symptom reporting experiences of 13 adults in the United States with advanced or metastatic cancer who were undergoing systemic cancer treatment. Data were collected via interviews. Results: The findings revealed that a personalized symptom management plan, prompt reporting, and timely communication with health-care practitioners improved patients’ physical and emotional wellbeing. Conclusions: A better understanding of cancer patients’ experiences self-reporting their symptoms may lead to improved communication methods and more effective reporting systems, which ultimately reduce patient burden and enhance patients’ self-advocacy. Ensuring that patients’ preferences for reporting their symptoms are met may positively influence the likelihood and timeliness of symptom self-reporting. Developing new and improved ways for health-care teams to manage symptoms is vital to improving patients’ quality of life.
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