Quarterly scientific journal

Cluster symptoms in cancer patients: A systematic Review

Anastasios Tzenalis , Ioanna Vekili


Clinical studies have shown that patients with cancer experience multiple and simultaneously occurring symptoms, both during the illness and the therapeutic interventions. Aim: The aim of the present systematic review study was to investigate the symptom complex (cluster symptoms) occurring in patients suffering from cancer and their effect on the outcome of the disease. Methods: Data collection was based on electronic databases «MEDLINE / PubMed», «CINAHL», «PsycINFO», «Science Direct», «Springerling» and «Cochrane Database», using keywords like: «cluster symptoms», «multiple symptoms», «concurrent symptoms», «constellation of symptoms». Limitations on articles' research were the year of publishing from 1971-2011 and the English language. Identified 96 completed articles and 75 were used.Results: Presented the prevailing scientific view on the definitions, theoretical frameworks, metrics, and results of operations in clusters of symptoms. However, researchers have different opinions about the number and relationships between symptoms in a cluster. The functional status and the patients' quality of life showed a negative correlation with the severity of the symptom complex. Conclusions: The technique of symptom clusters' recognition remains a research tool with potential great clinical importance. Understanding the complex experience of symptoms in cancer patients could provide a scientific basis and provide new directions for the clinical assessment of symptoms and appropriate interventions that would reduce the impact of clusters on patients' quality of life.

Keywords: Cluster symptoms, multiple symptoms, concurrent symptoms, constellation of symptoms

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