Exploring the efficacy of an electronic symptom assessment and self-care intervention to preserve physical function in individuals receiving neurotoxic chemotherapy.

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    • Abstract:
      Background: Impaired physical function due to chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) symptoms may lead to diminished quality of life. However, even with the knowledge of the effects of CIPN on physical function, clinicians infrequently assess and manage CIPN. Interventions that prioritize the early identification of CIPN to provide prompt treatment may reduce the impact of CIPN on physical function. The purpose of this paper is to compare self-reported physical function in individuals receiving neurotoxic chemotherapy between Electronic Symptom Assessment-Cancer (ESRA-C) intervention group (e.g., opportunity for symptom screening, self-care recommendations, communication coaching, and symptom tracking) and control group participants (i.e., electronic assessment alone). Secondary outcomes include pain intensity, sensory/motor CIPN, depression, fatigue, and insomnia.Methods: The data used in this paper are a subset of a randomized controlled trial that examined the impact of the ESRA-C intervention on symptom distress in individuals receiving cancer treatment. Since the interest in this analysis is on the effects of neurotoxic chemotherapy on physical function, subjects were included if they received platinum and/or taxane-based chemotherapy and completed the baseline and end-of-treatment measures. Participants completed standardized questionnaires of physical function, CIPN, fatigue, depression, pain intensity, and insomnia prior to treatment, 3-6 weeks after treatment initiation, and after the completion of treatment. Changes in mean scores are compared between groups using linear mixed models adjusting for age.Results: Intervention group participants reported significantly less reduction in physical functioning (baseline: 87.4/100; end-of-treatment: 84.5/100) relative to the control (baseline: 90.2/100; end-of-treatment: 81.8/100) (p = 0.011). For secondary measures, significantly less depression (p = 0.005) was observed in the intervention group as compared to the control, but otherwise, there were no between-group differences. Among participants who received high cumulative doses of neurotoxic chemotherapy, the intervention group reported significantly less severe sensory (p = 0.007) and motor CIPN (p = 0.039) relative to the control.Conclusion: Use of the ESRA-C intervention led to less reduction in physical function in comparison to the control in individuals receiving neurotoxic chemotherapy. Further research is needed to confirm our findings and to identify how electronic symptom assessment technology may mediate physical function preservation.Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.Gov NCT00852852 . Registered 27 February 2009. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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