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Mercadante S.,Pain Relief and Supportive Care Unit | Aielli F.,University of L'Aquila | Aielli F.,Laquila Per La Vita Home Care Unit | Adile C.,Pain Relief and Supportive Care Unit | And 10 more authors.
Supportive Care in Cancer | Year: 2015

Background: Oral symptoms can be a sign of an underlying systemic condition and have a significant impact on quality of life, nutrition, and cost of care, while these lesions are often studied in the context of cancer treatment. However, information regarding oral symptoms in advanced cancer patients is poor. The aim of this multicenter study was to determine the prevalence and the characteristics of oral symptoms in a large population of advanced cancer patients. Methods: A consecutive sample of patients with advanced cancer for a period of 6 months was prospectively assessed for an observational study. At time of admission, the epidemiological characteristics, surgery-radiotherapy of head and neck, and oncologic treatments in the last month were recorded. The presence of mucositis, dry mouth, and dysphagia was assessed by clinical examination and patients’ report and their intensity recorded. Patients were also asked whether they had limitation on nutrition of hydration due to the local condition. Results: Six hundred sixty-nine patients were surveyed in the period taken into consideration. The mean age was 72.1 years (SD 12.3), and 342 patients were males. The primary tumors are listed in Table 1. The prevalence of mucositis was 22.3 %. The symptom relevantly reduced the ingestion of food or fluids and was statistically associated with the Karnofsky level and head and neck cancer. The prevalence of dry mouth was 40.4 %, with a mean intensity of 5.4 (SD 2.1). Several drugs were concomitantly given, particularly opioids (78 %), corticosteroids (75.3 %), and diuretics (70.2 %). Various and nonhomogeneous treatments were given for dry mouth, that was statistically associated with current or recent chemotherapy, and hematological tumors. The prevalence of dysphagia was 15.4 % with a mean intensity of 5.34 (SD 3). Dysphagia for liquids was observed in 52.4 % of cases. A high level of limitation for oral nutrition due to dysphagia was found, and in 53.4 % of patients, alternative routes to the oral one were used. Dysphagia was statistically associated with the Karnofsky level and head and neck cancer. A strong relationship between the three oral symptoms was found. Conclusion: In advanced cancer patients, a range of oral problems significantly may impact on the physical, social, and psychological well-being of advanced cancer patients to varying degrees. These symptoms should be carefully assessed early but become imperative in the palliative care setting when they produce relevant consequences that may be life-threatening other than limiting the daily activities, particularly eating and drinking. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Porzio G.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | Porzio G.,University of L'Aquila | Aielli F.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | Verna L.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | And 3 more authors.
Supportive Care in Cancer | Year: 2011

Eleven advanced cancer patients affected by malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) were treated at home with a combination of octreotide, metoclopramide, morphine, and dexamethasone. In all patients, we observed a prompt control of gastrointestinal symptoms and recovery of bowel movements within 1-5 days. Based on our results, a combination of drugs with different mechanisms of action allows an effective and safe treatment for MBO at home. Further studies with larger number of patients are warranted to confirm these preliminary data. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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