Hayden Simpson Leeds
Baylor College of Medicine, USA
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Psychiatry
Research in the field of pediatric oncology has focused on survival rates and toxicity associated with new treatments with less attention being paid to the management of symptoms or the psychosocial development of the patient. This study aimed at providing a preliminary description of the variety of symptoms experienced by pediatric patients during chemotherapy treatment. Understanding symptoms will help providers better understand distress and the associated psychosocial development of patients. Understanding salient developmental stages and general functioning will allow us to better comprehend symptom distress. By better understanding barriers to reporting symptoms, and the measures patients and their caregivers take to relieve symptoms, providers can deliver better symptom management and education to families. Six adolescents (ages 12-18) and ten children (ages 7-11) completed the age appropriate Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS). Each patient and their caregiver completed a semi-structured interview. Six large themes were identified: caregiver/patient expectations, symptoms and everyday functioning, symptoms and chemotherapy, worries and sadness, physical changes, and symptom management. This preliminary data points to interesting phenomena that occur when pediatric patients are faced with a diagnosis of cancer and subsequent chemotherapy. Further research into psychological distress and symptom management is warranted. Many psychological symptoms, such as sadness and anxiety, were directly related to the patients’ physical conditions and a dynamic interplay between the two appears to exist. This research illustrates the tendency for psychological distress in the pediatric population to manifest itself in a wide variety of ways that are different than those observed in adult populations.
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