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Systematic Review of the Literature on Multiple Co-occurring Symptoms in Patients Receiving Treatment for Gynecologic Cancers.

OBJECTIVE: Patients with gynecologic cancers experience a very high symptom burden that has a negative impact on their quality of life. This systematic review aims to identify the common co-occurring symptoms, the prevalence of common symptoms, common instruments used to measure symptoms, associated risk factors, and the symptom burden in patients with gynecologic cancers.

DATA SOURCES: A search of four databases (ie, PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and CINAHL) was done from January 1, 2012, through September 5, 2022. A qualitative synthesis of the extant literature was performed using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines (PRISMA 2020).

CONCLUSION: A total of 118 studies met the prespecified inclusion criteria. Ninety-six symptoms were assessed across these studies. The top six symptoms and their grand mean prevalence rates were lack of energy (64.4%), fatigue (62.1%), abdominal pain (53.3%), depression (52.6%), concentration dysfunction (52.0%), and drowsiness (51.9%). Numerous methodologic challenges were evident across studies. Future research needs to develop a disease-specific symptom assessment measure, evaluate for risk factors associated with a higher symptom burden, and determine the impact of multiple symptoms on patient outcomes.

IMPLICATION FOR NURSING PRACTICE: The results are relevant for oncology clinicians to assess patients with gynecologic cancers for the presence of common symptoms and risk factors for higher symptom burden in the patients and to offer effective management interventions.

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