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Symptom Monitoring, Alleviation, and Self-Care Among Mexican Americans During Cancer Treatment

Phoebe D. Williams
Leticia S. Lantican
Julia O. Bader
Daniela Lerma
CJON 2014, 18(5), 547-554 DOI: 10.1188/14.CJON.547-554

Monitoring the occurrence and severity of symptoms among Mexican American adults undergoing cancer treatments, along with their self-care to alleviate symptoms, are understudied; the current study aimed to fill this gap in the literature. A total of 67 Mexican Americans receiving outpatient oncology treatments in the southwestern United States participated. Instruments included a patient-report checklist, the Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist (TRSC), the Symptom Alleviation: Self-Care Methods tool, and a demographic and health information form. At least 40% of participants reported the occurrence of 12 symptoms: hair loss, feeling sluggish, nausea, taste change, loss of appetite, depression, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, difficulty concentrating, constipation, skin changes, and numb fingers and toes. More than a third also reported pain, vomiting, decreased interest in sexual activity, cough, and sore throat. The helpful self-care strategies reported included diet and nutrition changes; lifestyle changes; and mind, body control, and spiritual activities. Patient report of symptoms during cancer treatments was facilitated by the use of the TRSC. Patients use symptom alleviation strategies to help relieve symptoms during their cancer treatment. The ability to perform appropriate, effective self-care methods to alleviate the symptoms may influence adherence to the treatment regimen.

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