Orphan symptoms in advanced cancer patients followed at home.

Alessandra Casuccio, Claudio Adile, Sebastiano Mercadante, Giampiero Porzio, Alessandro Valle, Flavio Fusco, Federica Aielli

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

AbstractOrphan symptoms are rarely assessed, particularly at home. The aim of this multicenter prospective study was to assess the prevalence of these symptoms and eventual factors possibly associated in advanced cancer patients at admission of a home care program. A prospective study was performed at three home care programs in Italy. Patients' data were collected, including age, sex, diagnosis, and Karnofsky status. Possible contributing factors were analyzed; preexisting neurological diseases, cerebral metastases, hyperthermia, diabetes, a state of dehydration clinically evident and/or oliguria, possible biochemical parameters when available, data regarding recent chemotherapy, opioids and doses, use of neuroleptics, benzodiazepine or anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotics were collected. Myoclonus, hiccup, sweating, pruritus, and tenesmus, either rectal or vesical, were assessed, according to a preliminary definition, at time of home care program admission. Three hundred sixty-two patients were surveyed at the three home care programs. Globally, 48 patients presented one or more orphan symptoms in the period taken into consideration, and 7 patients presented more than 1 symptom. One patient presented occasional and diffuse myoclonus. Nineteen patients presented sweating, 13 patients presented pruritus, and 14 patients presented hiccup. Finally, nine patients presented rectal or vesical tenesmus. There was a significant correlation between sweating and transdermal fentanyl use (P = 0.044), fever (P = 0.001), hiccup (P < 0.0005), and vesical tenesmus (P = 0.028). Pruritus was not associated to any factor. Hiccup was associated with gender (males, P = 0.006) and sweating (P < 0.0005). Vesical tenesmus was associated with fever (P = 0.019) and sweating (P = 0.028). Although the symptoms examined have a low prevalence in advanced cancer patients admitted to home care, the distress for patients may be high and deserve further analyses. Given the low prevalence of these symptoms, large studies are needed to find possible associated factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3525-3528
Number of pages4
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume21
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology

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    Casuccio, A., Adile, C., Mercadante, S., Porzio, G., Valle, A., Fusco, F., & Aielli, F. (2013). Orphan symptoms in advanced cancer patients followed at home. Supportive Care in Cancer, 21, 3525-3528.