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Anxiety most common symptom among cancer patients: PGI study

The study was conducted by Institute’s Department of Radiotherapy in the year 2014 and now it has been published in latest issue of Indian Journal of Palliative care.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Chandigarh |
August 28, 2016 4:46:06 am
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A study by the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) to record the distressing symptoms of newly diagnosed cancer patients has found that anxiety was the most common symptom followed by depression among such patients.

The study was conducted by Institute’s Department of Radiotherapy in the year 2014 and now it has been published in latest issue of Indian Journal of Palliative care.

According to the doctors, the aim of the study was to evaluate how the symptoms were addressed by treating oncologists and to see the distressing symptoms of newly diagnosed cancer patients. For the study, the doctors said, all the newly diagnosed cancer patients referred to the Department of Radiotherapy during May 2014 were asked to complete a questionnaire after taking their consent.

“For the study, 89 patients participated, of which, doctors said only 19 could fill the questionnaire on their own. Those patients who were not able to fill the questionnaire due to illiteracy, cognitive impairment, or any other reason, assistance of caregivers was sought,” the study stated.

It revealed that anxiety was the most common symptom (97.8%) followed by depression (89.9%), tiredness (89.9%), and pain (86.5%) among the patients. It also revealed that during the study treating physicians recorded pain in 83.1% patients whereas the other symptoms were either “not documented or grossly underreported.”

“The Edmonton symptom assessment scale-regular questionnaire was used to assess the frequency and intensity of distressing symptoms. The case records of these patients were then reviewed to compare the frequency and intensity documented by the treating physician,” the study said.

“Many a times, the treating physician (oncologist or not) ask about the well known distressing symptoms like pain, cough, breathlessness, difficulty in swallowing, but some complaints like fatigue, sleeplessness, loss of appetite are not documented in the case files,” Dr Sushmita Ghoshal, head of radiotherapy department, PGI who supervised the study said. “When asked specifically for these symptoms, we find that the incidence is much higher than what is documented. We have compared the answers to our direct questions with what was written in the case file.”

📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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