Psychological factors and nausea during cancer therapy

13 Nov 2015

A study in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics sheds new light on the relationship between psychological factors and nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy of cancer. Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting continue to be a distressing problem still reported by cancer patients, with negative consequences on quality of life.

The authors aimed to prospectively explore the association of psychosocial variables, including emotional distress, maladaptive coping styles and the doctor-patient relationship, with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and quality of life among cancer outpatients.

The psychosocial variables before chemotherapy were assessed

A prospective study was conducted on 302 consecutive cancer patients (response rate 80.9%) in Austria, Italy and Spain. The Distress Thermometer (DT), the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer (Mini-MAC), and the Patient Satisfaction with Doctor Questionnaire (PSQ) were used to assess psychosocial variables before chemotherapy.

In the 5 days after chemotherapy, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting was examined by using a daily diary. The Functional Living Index for Emesis (FLIE) was used to assess quality of life.


Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting had a negative impact on quality of life

Results show that:

  • More than half of the patients reported nausea (54%)
  • A small percentage reported vomiting (14%)
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting had a negative impact on quality of life
  • Maladaptive coping (i.e. hopelessness-helplessness and anxious preoccupation) and emotional distress were associated with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and poorer quality of life.

In logistic regression analysis, nausea was predicted by Mini-MAC/H and younger age; negative impact on quality of life was predicted by grade of chemotherapy emetogenesis and Mini-MAC/H

The Authors concluded that screening and assessment of psychological variables, especially coping, could help in identifying cancer patients at risk for chemotherapy-induced nausea, in spite of the use of antiemetic treatment.


Source: Medical News Today
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