Symptom Research in Children With Cancer: One Researcher's Journey
Repository Posting Date2016-07-13T11:13:54Z
Author DetailsMarilyn Hockenberry RN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN
Lead Author Sigma AffliationBeta Epsilon
Other Title(s)Special Session
Session presented on Saturday, July 23, 2016: Children with cancer report treatment-related symptoms as the worst part of treatment that creates difficulties with completing daily activities and are remembered a long time after treatment has ended. They experience multiple symptoms resulting from both disease and treatment. This session will discuss the trajectory of symptom science that established the foundation for exploration of fatigue, sleep, nausea, depression, physical function and motor abilities, as well as memory and cognition changes experienced during childhood cancer treatment. For the past 18 years, this researcher's program has been funded to establish the significance of treatment-related symptoms and their impact on quality of life in children with cancer. During this presentation each of these symptoms will be explored to provide reflection on the experiences of these children. The impact of age, sex, type of cancer and treatment will be reviewed. This body of research has advanced the science by evaluating symptoms and their interactions as well as changes in symptom severity over time, critical aspects that must be incorporated into symptom research. A major revelation from this work critical to understanding symptom experiences during childhood cancer treatment is the need for exploration of 'why' individual symptom differences occur. In the future this will allow us to identify who may be most susceptible to treatment toxicities. Recent research completed by the study team focused on evaluating biological mechanisms that influence the magnitude of symptom toxicity experienced during treatment will be presented. In order to develop effective strategies to reduce symptom toxicity during chemotherapy treatment, a complete understanding of associations need to be identified. Variability of symptom patterns found in this team's numerous studies over the years illustrate the importance in identifying specific factors influencing symptom toxicities. For example, antioxidants and their association with symptoms in children undergoing cancer treatment are discussed during this session to demonstrate the importance of biomarkers and their ability to predict symptom severity during cancer treatment. In the future, as oxidative stress biological markers continue to develop, it will be possible to determine individual susceptibility to oxidative stress and its influence on clinical outcomes and symptom severity.