Symptom Clusters in Elderly Patients With Lung Cancer

Audrey G. Gift

Anita Jablonski

Manfred Stommel

C. William Given

ONF 2004, 31(2), 203-212. DOI: 10.1188/04.ONF.203-212

Purpose/Objectives: To identify the number, type, and combination (cluster) of symptoms experienced by patients with lung cancer.

Design: A secondary analysis of data collected as part of a larger study.

Setting: 24 sites that included community hospitals, medical clinics, oncology clinics, and radiation-oncology clinics.

Sample: 220 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer, ranging in age from 65-89 years (XM = 72 years, SD = 5.02), 38% with early-stage and 62% with late-stage lung cancer.

Methods: Subject self-report.

Findings: Factor analysis found that the symptoms of fatigue, nausea, weakness, appetite loss, weight loss, altered taste, and vomiting form a cluster. Initial staging of cancer, the number of comorbid conditions, and being treated with chemotherapy emerged as significant predictors of the symptoms reported. Few differences were noted between men and women. Correlation was found among the numbers of symptoms reported, symptom severity, and limitations attributed to symptoms.

Conclusions: Patients with lung cancer report multiple distressing symptoms related to symptom severity and limitations.

Implications for Nursing: Assessment of multiple symptoms is recommended in patients with lung cancer.

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