Differences between Cancer Patients’ Symptoms Reported by Themselves and in Medical Records

Ana Joaquim, Sandra Custódio, Alexandra Oliveira, Francisco Luís Pimentel


Introduction: Data regarding rates of medical records concerning patients’ symptoms are controversial. We aimed to calculate medical discovery rate of patients’ symptoms and its association with symptoms severity. Methods: Patients reported symptoms were obtained by EORTC questionnaires of Quality of Life. Medical discovery rate was calculated after collected data on symptoms reported in medical records. Statistical descriptive methods were used. Results: There were 148 cancer patients. Most frequently reported symptoms were fatigue (80%), pain (66%), insomnia (64%). Symptoms with highest medical discovery rate were pain (19%) and nausea (14%). The remaining symptoms had low medical records discovery rate. More severe dyspnea, insomnia, nausea and constipation were more likely to be recorded by medical doctors (p<0.05). Conclusions: Majority of patients reported symptoms were not reported by doctor, even though symptoms could have been acknowledged and discussed with patients. Our results support the use of validated questionnaires to assess systematically patients’ symptoms.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/cco.v1n1p138


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