Treatment-related problems experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: A scoping review

R. Wagland*, J. Armes, M. Hankins, A. Richardson, E. Lennan, P. Griffiths

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience a range of treatment-related problems, and variations in prevalence exist between treatment centres. A scoping review was undertaken to map reported rates of problem prevalence in the literature. This will inform development of a patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) to monitor prevalence and severity of problems over time and assist service providers optimise supportive care provision. Two databases (Embase and Medline) were searched from 2002 to 2013. Fifty one published papers and conference abstracts reporting problem prevalence rates were identified. The papers reported 98 different problems, from which a typology of 27 problem domains was developed, including both physical symptoms and psychosocial issues. The problem domains most often studied were nausea, vomiting and fatigue. This review reflects the chemotherapy-associated problems to which researchers attach the most importance. The range in reported prevalence across studies was very broad (e.g. nausea: 9–74%), with even less frequently studied problems showing high prevalence in some studies (e.g. gynaecological problems: up to 94%). The wide variation in prevalence and range of problems experienced raises challenges for PROM development. Patients should therefore be involved in consensus exercises to assist selection of items to ensure any instrument is complete and robust.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-617
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Quality of life
  • Supportive care
  • Symptoms


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