Understanding the concept of chemotherapy-related nausea: The patient experience

Alexandros Molasiotis, C. T. Stricker, B. Eaby, L. Velders, P. A. Coventry

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to explore the experience of chemotherapy-related nausea in patients with cancer. A qualitative study was carried out with 17 patients who had experienced nausea during their chemotherapy in the UK and USA. Nausea was described as distressing and complex symptom. Patients attempted to construct an understanding of nausea using cognitive processes such as analysing their experience of nausea and related symptoms, attributing causation to nausea and comparing their experiences not only to their own expectations, but also to others' symptom experiences. A number of concurrent and associated symptoms linked with nausea were identified. Preliminary evidence emerged for nausea as part of a cluster of symptoms. Anti-emetic medication, provider-directed management strategies and self-management strategies were used by patients to minimize the effects of nausea. Self-management techniques, such as dietary strategies, were rooted in participants' understanding of nausea and their beliefs about what caused nausea, and there was little evidence of guidance from professionals beyond advice about medication management. This study reveals some of the complexities behind chemotherapy-induced nausea, including a potential symptom cluster, and contributes towards a clearer understanding of this symptom and its effects on patients' lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-453
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Concept
  • Experiences
  • Nausea
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom cluster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Oncology
  • Rehabilitation
  • General Health Professions


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