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Self-management of Chemotherapy-Related Nausea and Vomiting: A Cross-sectional Survey of Chinese Cancer Patients

Lou, Yan PhD; Yates, Patsy PhD; McCarthy, Alexandra PhD; Wang, He M. RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e318291b6f5

Background: Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) remain prevalent among cancer patients despite pharmacological advances in CINV therapy. Patients can initiate nonpharmacologic strategies, which potentially play an important role as adjuncts to pharmacological agents in alleviating CINV. Some studies have explored nausea and vomiting self-management (NVSM) behaviors among patients in Western settings; however, little is known about the NVSM behaviors of patients in China.

Objectives: This study examines NVSM behaviors of Chinese cancer patients.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a specialist cancer hospital in southeast China.

Results: A sample of 255 cancer patients was recruited. A mean of 8.56 (±3.15) NVSM behaviors was reported. Most NVSM behaviors were rated as moderately effective and were implemented with moderate self-efficacy. Higher distress levels, better functional status, previous similar symptom experiences, receiving chemotherapy as an inpatient, and greater support from multiple levels were related to greater engagement in NVSM; higher self-efficacy levels pertaining to NVSM behaviors were associated with reports of more relief from specific NVSM behaviors.

Conclusions: A range of NVSM strategies was initiated by Chinese cancer patients and provided some relief. A range of individual, health status, and environmental factors influenced engagement with and relief from NVSM behaviors.

Implications for Practice: To enhance Chinese patients’ NVSM, patients should be supported to engage in behaviors including taking antiemetics, modifying their diet, using psychological strategies, and creating a pleasant environment. The findings highlight the importance of enhancing patients’ self-efficacy in NVSM, alleviating symptom distress, and improving social support to achieve better outcomes.

Author Affiliations: School of Nursing, Hangzhou Normal University, People’s Republic of China (Dr Lou); Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (Drs Yates and McCarthy); and Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China (Mrs Wang).

Dr Yates is currently receiving grant from Merck on a separate project on nurse practices in managing nausea and vomiting. The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Yan Lou, PhD, School of Nursing, Hangzhou Normal University, 16 XueLin St, XiaSha Education Zone, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China 310036 (

Accepted for publication February 18, 2013.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins