Symptom distress in newly diagnosed ambulatory cancer patients and as a predictor of survival in lung cancer

Lesley F. Degner, Jeffrey A. Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Scopus citations


Levels of symptom distress are most often measured in a clinical trial context rather than in general ambulatory populations. The purpose of this paper is to report levels of symptom distress in such a population, and to describe the factors associated with this distress. Over a 6-month period, a consecutive sample of 434 newly diagnosed patients, including 82 patients with lung cancer, were tested with the symptom distress scale at two tertiary oncology clinics serving the population of one Canadian prairie province. While levels of symptom distress in this population were generally low, the most problematic symptoms for patients were fatigue and insomnia, with 40% and 30% having moderate or high scores on these symptoms, respectively. Patients with advanced disease reported more distress than those with early stage disease; women reported more distress than men; older patients had less distress than younger patients; distress was highest in lung cancer patients and lowest in men with genitourinary cancers. Consistent with the findings of four previous studies, the single measure of symptom distress was a significant predictor of survival in lung cancer patients, with the exception of three patients who had substantial post-thoracotomy symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-431
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of pain and symptom management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1995


  • Symptom distress
  • lung neoplasms
  • medical oncology
  • psychosocial oncology
  • quality of life
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Symptom distress in newly diagnosed ambulatory cancer patients and as a predictor of survival in lung cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this