Neuropathic symptoms, physical and emotional well-being, and quality of life at the end of life

Cindy Tofthagen, Constance Visovsky, Sara Dominic, Susan McMillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this cross-sectional, descriptive study was to assess differences in neuropathic symptoms, physical and emotional well-being, and quality of life in cancer patients at the end of life compared to those without neuropathic symptoms. Neuropathic symptoms were defined as numbness and tingling in the hands and/or feet. A secondary analysis of data from two hospices in Central Florida was performed. Adults (n = 717) with a cancer diagnosis, an identified family caregiver, and who were receiving hospice services, were eligible. The prevalence of numbness/tingling in the hands or feet was 40% in this sample of hospice patients with cancer. Participants with neuropathic symptoms of numbness/tingling had a significantly higher prevalence of pain (76.7% vs. 67.0%; p =.006), difficulty with urination (29.4% vs. 20.3%; p =.007), shortness of breath (64.9% vs. 54.1%; p =.005), dizziness/lightheadedness (46.0% vs. 28.2%; p <.001), sweats (35.5% vs. 20.3%; p <.001), worrying (50.7% vs. 37.3%; p =.001), feeling irritable (38.5% vs. 28.7%; p =.008), feeling sad (48.2% vs. 37.8%; p =.008), and difficulty concentrating (46.2% vs. 32.5%; p <.001). They also reported significantly higher overall symptom intensity and symptom distress scores (p = <.001), higher pain severity (p =.001) and pain distress (p =.002), and decreased quality of life (p =.002) compared to those without numbness/tingling. Neuropathic symptoms are emotionally distressing at the end of life and associated with higher symptom burden and diminished quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3357-3364
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume27
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • Palliative care
  • Supportive care
  • Symptom management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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