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Management of Treatment-Related Symptoms in Patients With Breast Cancer

Sabrina Brem
Nagi B. Kumar
CJON 2011, 15(1), 63-71 DOI: 10.1188/11.CJON.63-71

Although the benefits of current treatment strategies are well established, many cancer survivors are at risk for developing physiologic and psychological late effects of cancer treatment that might lead to premature mortality and morbidity and compromise their quality of life. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, depression, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and loss of self-esteem. Physiologic symptoms include pain, numbness, cognitive impairment, weight gain, loss of sexual interest, spontaneous menopause, and peripheral neuropathy. Both length and quality of survival are important end points. The goal of this review is to summarize the psychological and physiologic symptoms related to breast cancer treatment; the prevalence, contributing therapies, and inter-relatedness of these symptoms; current interventions to prevent, ameliorate, or treat these symptoms; and effectiveness and safety of these interventions. The results of this review will identify the gaps in knowledge and assist in the design of assessments and approaches to improve mortality and quality of life and provide the foundation for the development of evidence-based guidelines to standardize palliative care in cancer survivors.

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