Symptom Occurrence, Frequency, and Severity During Acute Colorectal Cancer Survivorship

Sameena F. Sheikh-Wu

Debbie Anglade

Karina A. Gattamorta

Canhua Xiao

Charles A. Downs

Cancer Survivorship, Chemotherapy, Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer, Symptoms
ONF 2022, 49(5), 421-431. DOI: 10.1188/22.ONF.421-431

Objectives: To examine colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors’ symptom characteristics (occurrence, frequency, and severity) during acute cancer survivorship.

Participants & Setting: A cross-sectional study of 117 CRC survivors was conducted at a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center in South Florida.

Methods & Variables: Symptom characteristics were assessed by the Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist. Participants completed a 25-item demographic questionnaire. Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis H tests assessed between-group differences based on sex, age, education, and months since diagnosis. Exploratory factor analysis was performed to identify preliminary symptom clusters.

Results: 117 CRC survivors completed the study (age range = 21–88 years, 56% male, and 79% stage IV). Common symptoms included peripheral neuropathy, fatigue/feeling sluggish, and skin changes. Significance was found between months since diagnosis and number of symptoms (p = 0.03), suggesting that symptoms accumulate with time. Chemotherapy (85%) was the most common treatment type, and exploratory factor analysis identified two chemotherapy-related symptom clusters.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses are poised to identify, prevent, and promote self-management skills to reduce symptoms.

Members Only
Not a current ONS member or journal subscriber?

Purchase This Article

Receive a PDF to download and print.