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The purposes of this descriptive study were to identify chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, management strategies, and outcomes as perceived by cancer patients based on the symptom management model of Dodd et al. The study sample consisted of 165 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Data were collected by means of three instruments: 1) the personal data form, 2) the symptom experience of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy questionnaire, and 3) the symptom management strategies and outcomes questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
The results revealed that the most occurring chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms of sensory neuropathy including numbness, muscle pain, joint pain, and burning sensation (93.3%, 83.0%, 56.4%, and 15.2%, respectively). The most common symptoms of motor neuropathy consisted of muscle weakness, muscle cramp or tetany, difficulty of breathing, dysphagia, and difficult of chewing (46.7%, 27.3%, 13.3%, 6.7%, and 4.2%, respectively). The symptoms of autonomic neuropathy, the most occurring, were constipation, followed by postural hypotension, and dysuria or urinary incontinence (61.2%, 41.2%, and 8.5%, respectively). Sample perceived both of symptom severity and symptom interference with activities of daily living in the moderate level. The most frequently strategies to manage chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms were relaxed, followed by pharmacological therapy, modified behaviors, exercise/massage, and complementary therapy: herb/ nutrition supplement (87.3%, 82.4%, 74.5%, 69.1%, and 58.2%, respectively). The most effective strategies to reduce chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms were pharmacological therapy, followed by complementary therapy: herb/nutrition supplement.
Results from this study showed that chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy affected the patients’ daily activities. Therefore, nurses should be aware and assess patients’ peripheral neuropathy symptoms related to chemotherapy for planning and enabling patients to appropriately and effectively manage their symptoms.
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