Medical College of Wisconsin
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Symptom self-management strategies reported by adolescents and young adults with cancer receiving chemotherapy. Support Care Cancer 2017 12;25(12):3793-3806



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85024480447   23 Citations


PURPOSE: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer experience multiple symptoms related to their cancer and its treatment which can negatively impact their development and quality of life. An understanding of the strategies AYAs use to self-manage their symptoms is limited. This study described symptom self-management strategies reported by AYAs with cancer using an iPad-based symptom heuristics tool, the Computerized Symptom Capture Tool.

METHODS: The study used a cross-sectional, descriptive design. AYAs' free text responses relating their symptom self-management strategies were explored using qualitative content analysis procedures. Strategies were examined overall and by individual symptoms.

RESULTS: Seventy-two AYAs 13-29A years of age (mean 18.4A years) reported a total of 772 symptom self-management codes for 585 individual symptoms. These codes were organized into 119 distinct categories. These categories were further organized into 16 subthemes and 3 overarching themes: "Things I Take a?| or Not" (nA =A 209 codes), "Physical Care Things I Do" (nA =A 367 codes), and "Psychosocial Care Things I Do" (nA =A 132 codes). AYAs frequently reported strategies from all three of the symptom self-management themes to manage individual symptoms; however, "medications" was the most frequently reported strategy.

CONCLUSION: AYAs receiving chemotherapy use multiple common, yet uniquely individual symptom self-management strategies. AYAs' reported strategies range from those that involve shared management with a healthcare provider to those that AYAs implement independently. The study provides a foundation for future research to empower AYAs to engage in symptom self-management and to guide healthcare providers as they discuss developmentally relevant and evidence-based symptom self-management strategies.

Author List

Linder LA, Erickson JM, Stegenga K, Macpherson CF, Wawrzynski S, Wilson C, Ameringer S


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

Computers, Handheld
Cross-Sectional Studies
Mobile Applications
Palliative Care
Quality of Life
Young Adult