Quality of life and barriers to symptom management in colon cancer

Virginia Sun, Tami Borneman, Marianna Koczywas, Mihaela Cristea, Barbara F. Piper, Gwen Uman, Betty Ferrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose of the research: Pain and fatigue are recognized as critical symptoms that impact QOL for patients with colon cancer. Barriers to optimum pain and fatigue relief include patient-related beliefs and attitudes about the treatment of cancer-related symptoms. The overall objective of this paper was to describe quality of life (QOL) and barriers to pain and fatigue management in patients with colon cancer. Methods and sample: This longitudinal, descriptive study included was conducted in the ambulatory clinic of one NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. A cohort of 56 patients with colon cancer and a pain and/or fatigue of ≥4 (moderate to severe) was recruited. Subjects completed questionnaires to assess subjective ratings of overall QOL, fatigue, barriers to pain and fatigue, and pain and fatigue knowledge. Key results: The majority of subjects (58%) reported having moderate to severe (4-6) fatigue at the time of accrual. Overall QOL score was moderate (. M = 5.20, SD = 1.43), and the social well-being subscale had the lowest score (. M = 4.57, SD = 1.82). Patient barriers to pain and fatigue existed in attitudes and beliefs regarding addiction, tolerance, and that fatigue is an inevitable part of cancer and its treatments. Patient knowledge of pain and fatigue was high (77%-88% correct), but lack of knowledge persisted in areas such as addiction to pain medications and utilizing physical activity to manage fatigue. Conclusions: Several patient-related attitudes and beliefs may hinder optimum relief of symptoms such as pain and fatigue. Social well-being may be a major determinant of overall QOL for patients with colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-280
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Colon cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Quality of Life
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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