A longitudinal study of changing characteristics of taste and smell alterations in patients treated for lung cancer

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  • Purpose Taste and smell alterations (TSAs) are common symptoms in patients with cancer that may interfere with nutritional intake and quality of life. In this study, we explore and describe how characteristics of self-reported TSAs change in individuals with lung cancer over time using a multiple case study approach to present longitudinal data from individuals. Methods Patients under investigation for lung cancer were recruited from one university hospital in Sweden. The 52 patients providing data eligible for the analyses presented here were those treated for primary lung cancer with three measurement time-points, of which one was prior to treatment and two after treatment start. Four self-report instruments were used for data collection. These included the Taste and Smell Survey, used to characterize TSAs for each individual at the three time-points and instruments measuring nutritional status, symptom burden and well-being. Three patient cases are described in detail to illustrate variation in individual experiences of TSAs. Results The characteristics of the TSAs experienced changed over time for many of the individuals in this study, including those undergoing surgery or stereotactic radiotherapy. The case descriptions show how the individual experiences of TSAs and the impact on daily life of these symptoms not only depend on TSA characteristics, but may be influenced by contextual factors, e.g. other symptoms and life situation. Conclusions Our results suggest that healthcare professionals need to consider the variation in characteristics of TSAs among and within patients over time, and be attentive to individual experiences of TSAs.

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    Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 4.0 International
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    • Belqaid, K., Tishelman, C., McGreevy, J., Månsson-Brahme, E., Orrevall, Y., Wismer, W., & Bernhardson, B. -M. (2016). A longitudinal study of changing characteristics of taste and smell alterations in patients treated for lung cancer. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 21, 232-241. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2015.10.009
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