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Symptom Profiles of Adolescents and Young Adults in Active Cancer Treatment by Diagnostic Groups. Cancer Nurs 2022 Jul-Aug 01;45(4):306-315



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BACKGROUND: The symptom experience of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer can differ based on the cancer and its treatments. A dearth of information exists on how symptoms differ by individual factors such as age and gender.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives were to describe symptoms in AYAs across 5 cancer diagnostic groups by the individual factors of age group, sex, race/ethnicity, and time since diagnosis; and then to describe symptoms based on these individual factors within diagnostic groups.

METHODS: This was a secondary analysis of baseline data pooled from 2 multisite studies on symptoms in AYAs with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, brain cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and sarcoma. Symptoms were assessed using the Computerized Symptom Capture Tool.

RESULTS: Data from 118 AYAs with cancer, aged 13 to 29 years, were analyzed. Eight of the most commonly reported symptoms were reported in at least 4 diagnostic groups. Across diagnostic groups, symptoms varied little based on individual factors. Within groups, certain symptoms differed in frequency by individual factors.

CONCLUSIONS: The lack of major differences in symptom prevalence based on individual factors across diagnostic groups supports a heterogeneous approach to symptom research with AYAs. The study identified individual factors within diagnostic groups worthy of further exploration.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Providers can facilitate discussions with AYAs about symptoms by being aware of common symptoms that may occur in certain cancer diagnostic groups and based on individual factors. The significance of the individual symptom experience should not be underestimated, emphasizing the importance of person-centered symptom assessment.

Author List

Ameringer S, Elswick RK Jr, Stegenga K, Macpherson CF, Erickson JM, Linder L


Jeanne M. Erickson PhD, RN Associate Professor in the College of Nursing department at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
Symptom Assessment
Young Adult