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Important and relevant symptoms including pain concerns in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC): a patient interview study.

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Important and relevant symptoms including pain concerns in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC): a patient interview study.

Support Care Cancer. 2013 Nov 21;

Authors: Kaiser K, Mallick R, Butt Z, Mulcahy MF, Benson AB, Cella D

PURPOSE: We examined the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and pain experiences of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and assessed content validity of existing patient-reported pain items for patients with HCC.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews to elicit symptoms, side effects and concerns were conducted with ten patients with HCC. Symptom and side effect importance was ranked on a 0 to 10 scale. Patients completed pain items from the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Hepatocellular (FACT-Hep) and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Hepatocellular-18 (EORTC QLQ-HCC18).
RESULTS: Mean age was 58 years (range 33-77). Spontaneously reported symptoms included fatigue (n?=?5), diarrhea (n?=?5), skin toxicities (n?=?5), and loss of appetite (n?=?4). Upon questioning, nine of ten patients reported experiencing pain over the course of their treatment. Over half of the importance rankings given for pain were 8 or higher on a 0 to 10 scale. Abdomen (n?=?7) and lower back (n?=?3) were the most common sites of pain. Pain onset varied from 6 months pre-diagnosis to over 2 years post-diagnosis. All patients indicated that FACT-Hep and EORTC items adequately assessed their pain.
CONCLUSIONS: Results support the content validity of FACT-Hep pain items for patients with HCC. The finding that patients typically did not spontaneously report pain but often ranked it as very important for their HRQOL upon questioning suggests a need for systematic, routine pain and other symptom assessment and management as an integral component of patient care in advanced HCC.

PMID: 24258355 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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