Purpose/Objectives: To explore occurrence of symptoms and relationships between them as perceived by patients with lymphoma before, during, and 14 months after the beginning of treatment. Research Approach: Qualitative and longitudinal. Setting: A major oncology center in the United Kingdom. Participants: 10 adult patients with lymphoma (3 women and 7 men) were recruited at treatment initiation. Methodologic Approach: Semistructured audiotaped interviews were conducted with participants in median 15 days, 4 months, and 14 months after diagnosis. Analysis of the verbatim transcripts was inspired by interpretive description, which is a grounded approach articulating patterns emerging in relation to clinical phenomena. Main Research Variables: Symptoms. Findings: Symptoms commonly reported by patients in this sample were lack of energy, lymphadenopathy, weight loss, itching, pain, sadness, night sweats, sleeping difficulties, and hair loss. Co-occurring prediagnosis symptoms seem to have led patients to seek medical attention; co-occurring symptoms during treatment seem to have a cumulatively distressing effect. Several of the symptoms were described as interrelated, with one symptom leading to one or more other symptoms. Conclusions: The data confirm a complex symptomatology in patients with lymphoma. In addition, the findings support that co-occurring symptoms may have a synergistic effect on patients' health outcomes and add new knowledge about relationships between symptoms from patients' perspectives. Interpretation: Illustrating symptoms and interrelationships between symptoms using diagrams may be useful to support communication as well as in identifying targets for symptom management.
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