Symptom clusters in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma during radiotherapy

W. Xiao, C.W.H. Chan, Y. Fan, Yin Ping Leung, W. Xia, Y. He, L. Tang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Elsevier LtdPurpose Despite the improvement in radiotherapy (RT) technology, patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) still suffer from numerous distressing symptoms simultaneously during RT. The purpose of the study was to investigate the symptom clusters experienced by NPC patients during RT. Methods First-treated Chinese NPC patients (n = 130) undergoing late-period RT (from week 4 till the end) were recruited for this cross-sectional study. They completed a sociodemographic and clinical data questionnaire, the Chinese version of the M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory - Head and Neck Module (MDASI-HN-C) and the Chinese version of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - Head and Neck Scale (FACT-H&N-C). Principal axis factor analysis with oblimin rotation, independent t-test, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Pearson product-moment correlation were used to analyze the data. Results Four symptom clusters were identified, and labelled general, gastrointestinal, nutrition impact and social interaction impact. Of these 4 types, the nutrition impact symptom cluster was the most severe. Statistically positive correlations were found between severity of all 4 symptom clusters and symptom interference, as well as weight loss. Statistically negative correlations were detected between the cluster severity and the QOL total score and 3 out of 5 subscale scores. Conclusion The four clusters identified reveal the symptom patterns experienced by NPC patients during RT. Future intervention studies on managing these symptom clusters are warranted, especially for the nutrition impact symptom cluster.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Factor analysis
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Quality of life
  • Radiotherapy
  • Symptom clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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