Symptom experience in patients with gynecological cancers: The development of symptom clusters through patient narratives

Violeta Lopez, Gina Copp, Lisa Brunton, Alexandros Molasiotis

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The vast majority of the increasing cancer literature on physical and psychological symptom clusters is quantitative, attempting either to model clusters through statistical techniques or to test priori clusters for their strength of relationship. Narrative symptom clusters can be particularly sensitive outcomes that can generate conceptually meaningful hypotheses for symptom cluster research. We conducted a study to explore the explanation of patients about the development and coexistence of symptoms and how patients attempted to self-manage them. We collected 12-month qualitative longitudinal data over four assessment points consisting of 39 interview data sets from 10 participants with gynecological cancer. Participants' experiences highlighted the presence of physical and psychological symptom clusters, complicating the patients' symptom experience that often lasted 1 year. While some complementary and self-management approaches were used to manage symptoms, few options and interventions were discussed. The cancer care team may be able to develop strategies for a more thorough patient assessment of symptoms reported as the most bothersome and patient-centered sensitive interventions that encompass the physiological, psychological, sociocultural, and behavioral components of the symptom experience essential for effective symptom management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Supportive Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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