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Symptoms of Patients With Lung Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy and Coping Strategies

Genç, Fatma MSc; Tan, Mehtap PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e31820b7024

Background: Lung cancer (LC) is a major health problem throughout the world. There are few studies in Turkey on symptom distress and coping strategies of patients with LC.

Objective: This study was conducted to find the relationship between the physical and psychological symptoms of patients with LC undergoing chemotherapy and their coping strategies.

Methods: A total of 46 patients with LC who were undergoing chemotherapy in the clinics of hematology and oncology were included in the study. Data were collected using a sociodemographic questionnaire, the Symptom Distress Scale, Ways of Coping Inventory, and Brief Symptom Inventory.

Results: The mean score for the physical symptoms was 22.39 (SD, 7.55). The highest scores were found for symptoms of fatigue (2.15 [SD, 0.81]) and pain (2.02 [SD, 0.99]). The highest scores were found to be those for somatization and anxiety in the Brief Symptom Inventory (11.45 [SD, 4.60] and 5.84 [SD, 2.38], respectively). The most common coping strategy was submissive approach (emotion focused) (11.73 [SD, 2.60]), and the least common strategy was seeking social support (problem focused) (6.60 [SD, 2.92]).

Conclusions: The study showed that Turkish patients with LC often experience some physical symptoms, particularly pain and fatigue as well as the psychological symptoms including somatization and anxiety. As for the coping strategy, they commonly preferred emotion-focused coping strategies.

Implications for Practice: The results highlight the importance of symptom management, as well as the need for tailor-made clinical interventions to maximize effective symptom management in Turkish patients with LC.

Author Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, School of Nursing, Atatürk University, Erzurum, Turkey.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Mehtap Tan, PhD, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Nursing, Atatürk University, 25240, Erzurum, Turkey (;

Accepted for publication December 13, 2010.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.