Effect of a structured pre-chemotherapy teaching program for cancer patients on their anxiety level and experiences of physical side effects
Mikos, Kathleen A.
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A review of the literature shows that the number of newly diagnosed cases of cancer continues to increase yearly. As a result, there will also be an increase in the number of cancer treatments initiated for patients today. Societies' stigma of cancer portrays this disease as devasting and ultimately leading to death. The diagnosis of cancer is therefore an anxiety producing event. The cancer patient has been found to have one of the highest levels of anxiety associated with disease and treatment management. The purpose of this experimental study was to ascertain whether the implementation of a structured, pre-chemotherapy teaching program would decrease the level of anxiety associated with beginning chemotherapy and, furthermore, demonstrate fewer physical side effects, both subjectively and objectively, following therapy. The study sample consisted of 10 experimental subjects and 11 control subjects. Each participant completed the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory prior to their therapy and responded to a post-chemotherapy telephone call concerning physical side effects following their drug therapy. The data collected were analyzed using means, standard deviations and t tests. The results of the data analyses demonstrated that patients receiving a structured, pre-chemotherapy teaching program showed: 1) no decrease in their anxiety levels prior to therapy, 2) no decrease in the objective physical side effects following drug therapy, and 3) an increase in the subjective physical side following drug therapy when compared with patients not receiving a structured teaching program.