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The Influence of Comorbidities on Use of Symptom Management Strategies
Gerontological Society of America (2011)
  • Sandra Spoelstra, Grand Valley State University
This research examines 552 solid tumor cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the impact of comorbidities on patient’s use of management strategies for 15 common symptoms during treatment. After adjusting for age and intervention mode, number of comorbidities was significantly related to number of symptoms threshold; ranging from 5.5—7.5 (no comorbidity to 3+). However, numbers of comorbidities had no impact on patients trying proposed strategies. To determine if age adjusted numbers of comorbidities influenced proportion of symptoms, severe, moderate, mild cut-points were applied and responses were defined as moving from severe to moderate/mild, or moderate to mild. Mean response rates among patients with 3+ comorbidities were 0.68, with 2 were 0.76, 1 was 0.77, and no comorbidities 0.77. To understand this further we examined fatigue weakness, pain, and insomnia symptom response among patients with varying levels of comorbidity. Patients who had 3+ comorbidities had the greatest proportion (8% more) of symptoms that were severe at onset. Finally, at the last intervention contact, those with 3+ comorbidities had the highest % of severe symptoms that were lowered to a moderate level of severity; and the smallest % that moved from severe to mild. In sum, comorbid conditions place extra symptom burden on cancer patients and are associated with lower rates of symptom response. Future trials on symptom management and survivorship need to take into careful account the comorbid conditions patients bring to their treatment and interventions.
Publication Date
Fall 2011
Citation Information
Sandra Spoelstra. "The Influence of Comorbidities on Use of Symptom Management Strategies" Gerontological Society of America (2011)
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