Background Most anticancer drugs bring adverse effects (AEs) occurring during treatment-free intervals (TIs) while the patient is at home. A significant difference exists between AEs that really happen at home and those reported to physicians at the time of the subsequent course.
Purpose To set up a comprehensive tool for AE reporting by patients and to assess whether it leads to an improvement in patients’ quality of life.
Materials and Methods All consecutive patients treated in a day hospital oncological ward (digestive, thoracic, dermatological and haematology) over four courses of chemotherapy were included. A physician-patient logbook of 14 questions (rated from 1 = absence to 4 = strong) was completed daily during the first and third TIs. A global score was calculated for each course and compared to the results of QLQc30 forms.
Results Thirty-four patients were included, with a mean age of 59.9 and a male/female ratio of 1.3. A majority of metastatic diseases (67.6%) had a WHO performance status (PS) score of 0/1 (88.2%). Most frequent AEs during the first TI were eating disorders (1.72 ± 0.11) and pain (1.41 ± 0.08). The daily score progressively decreased over subsequent TIs. Mean global score was 1.31 ± 0.06 and 1.14 ± 0.06 after the first and third TI, respectively. The frequency of all side effects decreased between the first and third courses. Eating disorders (1.28 ± 0.10) and neuropathy (1.23 ± 0.08) were the most frequent AEs in the third TI. Results of QLQc30 forms showed an improvement of the quality of life between the first and fourth courses. Most important improvements concerned nausea/vomiting (respectively score 22.1 to 8.3) and loss of appetite (score 31.4 to 21.2).
Conclusions A better awareness of AEs of anti-cancer drugs may improve their management. The use of a logbook could be helpful, as its interpretation may be related to an improvement in the quality of life.
No conflict of interest.
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