Prevalence, severity, and impact of symptoms on female family caregivers of patients at the initiation of radiation therapy for prostate cancer.

Research paper by Barbara Swore BS Fletcher, Steven M SM Paul, Marylin J MJ Dodd, Karen K Schumacher, Claudia C West, Bruce B Cooper, Kathryn K Lee, Bradley B Aouizerat, Patrick P Swift, William W Wara, Christine A CA Miaskowski

Indexed on: 01 Feb '08Published on: 01 Feb '08Published in: Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology


In a sample of family caregivers (FCs) of patients with prostate cancer who were to begin radiation therapy (RT), the purposes were to determine the prevalence and severity of depression, anxiety, pain, sleep disturbance, and fatigue; determine the relationships among these symptoms and between these symptoms and functional status and quality of life (QOL); evaluate for differences in functional status and QOL between FCs with low and high levels of these symptoms; and determine which factors predicted FCs' functional status and QOL.FCs were recruited before patients initiated RT and completed self-report questionnaires that evaluated demographic characteristics, symptoms, functional status, and QOL.Sixty female FCs participated in the study. On the basis of established cut point scores for each symptom questionnaire, 12.2% of the FCs had clinically meaningful levels of depression, 40.7% anxiety, 15.0% pain, 36.7% sleep disturbance, 33.3% morning fatigue, and 30.0% evening fatigue. FCs who were older and who had lower levels of state anxiety and higher levels of depression, morning fatigue, and pain reported significantly poorer functional status (R(2) = 38.7%). FCs who were younger, had more years of education, were working, and who had higher levels of depression, morning fatigue, sleep disturbance, and lower levels of evening fatigue reported significantly lower QOL scores (R(2) = 70.1%).A high percentage of FCs experienced clinically meaningful levels of a variety of symptoms. These symptoms have a negative impact on the FCs' functional status and QOL.

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