Symptom Burden: Experiences of Puerto Rican Men With Prostate Cancer Prior to External Beam Radiation Therapy

Velda J. Gonzalez

Susan C. McMillan

Maureen Groer

Segundo Imbert

Jamie Tome

Elsa Pedro

prostate cancer, radiation therapy, symptom science
CJON 2017, 21(1), 104-112. DOI: 10.1188/17.CJON.104-112

Background: Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men in Puerto Rico, and external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is a popular treatment. Although symptom management is a clinical priority of comprehensive oncology care, symptom assessment at the time of primary or adjuvant EBRT has received limited attention. 

Objectives: This article examines the prevalence and severity of symptoms experienced by 54 Puerto Rican men prior to EBRT. 

Methods: Participants completed a demographic form and the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory. Descriptive statistics were generated. 

Findings: Most participants had received hormonal treatment, and about a third had received no treatment prior to EBRT. About a third of those who received hormonal treatment reported experiencing side effects before EBRT, and disturbed sleep, numbness and tingling, fatigue, and dry mouth were the most severe. Puerto Rican men with prostate cancer who receive hormonal treatment are at increased risk for experiencing symptom burden prior to EBRT. Greater need for symptom surveillance, treatment, and control may be needed among this population. 

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