JOURNAL ARTICLE

Symptoms, psychological distress, social support, and quality of life of Chinese patients newly diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer

Hu Yan, Ken Sellick
Cancer Nursing 2004, 27 (5): 389-99
15525867
This study aims to describe symptoms, psychological distress, social support, and quality of life of Chinese patients newly diagnosed with gastrointestinal tract (GIT) cancer, and to identify the extent to which demographic, physical, and psychosocial factors predict their quality of life. A convenience sample of 146 newly diagnosed GIT cancer patients recruited from 3 major hospitals in Shanghai completed a self-report questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed to obtain demographic and medical data and measures of symptoms, psychological distress, social support, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and global quality of life (GQoL). Measures developed in English were translated into Chinese using the procedure advocated by WHO. The results showed that the most common signs and symptoms reported were fatigue, pain, and weight loss; 28% of the patients were depressed; and overall, patients had a moderate quality of life. Comparative analyses found some difference on measures for demographic and diagnostic subgroups. Depression, symptom distress, and social support accounted for 44% of the total variance for HRQoL, while perceived financial difficulty and symptom distress accounted for 20% of the total variance for GQoL. Findings from this research give insights into the importance of quality of life assessment, symptom management, and intervention to improve the quality of life of Chinese cancer patients. It also raises questions about measures of quality of life that are culturally relevant.

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